Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Gothic faultlines : multimodal American literature and the collective reading enterprise
Author: Fisher, Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 3020
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The Gothic in the post-millennial period offers writers an anchoring point, a site of familiarity for the reader, in the midst of an evolving culture of reading. Moving beyond recognising the binary conception of old vs new media, at stake in this thesis is the reader's approach to the text in light of digital developments to reading habits. The evolution of digital technologies that have influenced approaches to reading include our ability to process vast amounts of data in quick succession through hyperlinks, and the capacity to locate relevant data amongst an endless flow in a non-linear, multi-cursal format: recognised as 'browsing or 'surfing' the web. This style of reading is indicative of the pathways through a labyrinth: a key motif for the digital posited by a range of critics included in this thesis such as Pierre Lèvy (1997), Espen J. Aarseth (1997), N. Katherine Hayles (2008) and Marie-Laure Ryan (2015). For the post-millennial novel, it is the changes that have occurred in light of digital reading practices that has led to the re-birth of the reader, not as an individual, but as a collective. Readers of the multimodal novel are driven by the physical responses required of them by the Gothic mode in a moment of boundary transgression of the storyworld and actual world: a Gothic faultline. In the following chapters, I locate the authors' use of familiar Gothic tropes in Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves (2000), Bret Easton Ellis' Lunar Park (2005), JJ Abrams' and Doug Dorst's S. (2013) and Zachary Dodson's Bats of the Republic (2015) as a way of situating the reader in familiar territory. These tropes anchor the reader's navigation through complex narrative structures. It is then possible to identify the moment at which the reader becomes conscious of their direct involvement in the storyworld, an affective and physical experience that can be conceptualised through the Lacanian term extimacy. Spanning both the interior of the print novel and external digital platforms that expand the storyworld, I conceptualise the reader's experience using Garrett Stewart's (1997) 'Gothic of reading' to underpin the process of activation a reader of Gothic fiction experiences. Consequently, I argue that the reader is no longer a mere consumer of entertainment, but an investigator, collaborator, code-breaker, and sometimes even a translator. The Gothic, it seems, is the ideal mode to capture both the anxieties of the digital present whilst harnessing recognisable forms to ease readers into the demands of the multimodal novel.
Supervisor: Nicol, Bran ; Johns-Putra, Adeline Sponsor: AHRC ; TECHNE
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral