As Henry Jenkins observed in his 2006 book Convergence Culture, popular fiction is increasingly not just narrated through one medium such as a single film or novel, but through a variety of different media that all contribute to one shared fictional universe, a storyworld. In franchises such as The Matrix, Star Wars, and recently Marvel's Avengers universe, storylines are dispersed across novels, films, TV- and web series, comic books, videogames, websites and wikis. Thus transmedia storytelling poses the question "[w]hat can medium y do in terms of storyworld creation (or representation) that medium x cannot?" (Marie Laure Ryan and Jan-Noël Thon). Drawing on adaptation theory this class will include examples from popular culture and literary classics in order to understand different media-specific narrative techniques.
The first part will focus on various adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, among them several TV- and cinema versions, Seth Grahame Smith's novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the web series The Lizzy Bennett Diaries. (Selected chapters/clips will be made available at the end of the registration period.)
The main part of the seminar will be dedicated to the literary analysis of the Wachowskys' Matrix-Trilogy and its adjacent media installments (mainly animated short films and video games), the Marvel Avengers and the Star Wars storyworlds, but also the recent expansions of TV-series into different entertainment media, as seen in AMC's The Walking Dead and HBO's Game of Thrones.
At the beginning of the semester students are expected to
- have read and watched all secondary texts, excerpts, and clips made available on Pride and Prejudice and its adaptations
- be familiar with the three Matrix films, preferably also the Enter the Matrix video game and the various online short films of the franchise
- have watched at least three films set in the Marvel Avengers universe