Transmedial World-Building in Fictional Narratives

There is no denying that transmedia storytelling has been gaining increasing attention in recent media, literature, and game studies. Introduced in Henry Jenkins’ famous (though not aspiring to be groundbreaking) book Convergence Culture (cf. JENKINS 2006), the term has already appeared—to recall the most notable contributions—in media (cf. DENA 2009; SCOLARI 2009), game (cf. KLASTRUP/TOSCA 2004; THON 2009), literature (cf. WOLF 2012), television (cf. EVANS 2011) and, last but not least, narrative studies (cf. RYAN 2001; 2004; 2006; 2014), becoming, therefore, a hallmark of contemporary participatory culture. This instinctive association of transmedia studies with everything labeled ›new media storytelling‹ may be, however, one of the term’s few disadvantages. After all, what was the third edition of Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), if not transmedial? Indeed, the work entails a fantastic story (the imaginary voyage of Hythloday), fictional world-building (the foundation of the island of Utopia), concept art (the woodcuts by Ambrosius Holbein), metafictional augmentations (fictive poems, dialogues, and letters), and even a facsimile of the imaginary alphabet. This is possibly why more universally attributed transmedia studies could follow the path marked by Richard Saint-Gelais’ concept of transfictionality (cf. SAINT-GELAIS 2007; 2011), Marie-Laure Ryan’s distinctions between transmediality and transfictionality (cf. RYAN 2013), or even David Herman’s notion of the whole transmedial narratology (cf. HERMAN 2004).
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