Narrative across media, narrative within folklore

Eight Words for the Study of Expressive Culture by Feintuch (ed.)

The words are: group, art, text, genre, performance, context, tradition, and identity. Of the eight essays, those on Group and Genre seemed most compelling. Group (by Dorothy Noyes) gets into the complexities of defining who is in and out of a group, using the example of an Italian street festival in Philadelphia. Genre (by Rudier Harris-Lopez) touches on the emergence of folk texts in new media and therefore overlaps with my wishes to investigate digital storytelling. It would be good to read with one or both of the below chapters.

Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling by Ryan (ed.)

This is based in literary theory, but has 2 essays of use to thinking about new forms of fantasy media. They're back-to-back in the book, and read very well together.

"Will New Media Produce New Narratives?" by Marie-Laure Ryan offers a typology of narratives in various kinds of media, trying to establish what sorts of stories are told when different constraints operate. She creates a 4-part scheme, cross-classifying "internal/external involvement" and "exploratory/ontological involvement" to get at what interactivity the reader has with the narrative form.

"Quest Games as Post-Narrative Discourse" by Espen Aarseth argues that game theorists are turning to narrative theory only because there's nothing better out there yet. Illustrated liberally with examples from specific games, Aarseth's ultimate argument is that the "quest" is the real motivation in gaming, and that narrative theory should be abandoned and quest theory developed to discover what games mean. This leaves open many interesting questions, including whether good old Vladimir Propp or Joseph Campbell would be of use in understanding game quests or not. Is the major connection between fantasy literature and fantasy gaming the centrality of the quest?

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