LIT4303 – The multimodal novel: Theory and contemporary practice
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
Since the turn of the millennium, there has been a rise in so-called multimodal novels – that is, novels that integrate images and visual forms into the narration and utilize the pictorial quality of script. Multimodal novels emphasize the media-specific possibilities of the printed book. By foregrounding the novel’s materiality, they often involve the reader in a meta-reflection on the compositional, material and social practices of writing and reading narratives.
In this course, we will look into the current theoretical debate about the multimodal novel and its specific ways to involve the reader in the experience of reading and the unfolding of storyworlds. Drawing on state-of-the-art cognitive approaches to literature, we will jointly lay out a theoretical and analytical framework that factors in the ‘embodied reader’ and the role of social cognition for literary reading. Taking into account the shift toward a ‘new materialism’ in literary theory, we will moreover theorize the contemporary multimodal novel against the backdrop of changing historical practices of textual materiality and mediality.
Our primary reading – Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2005) as well as excerpts of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000) and Anne Carson’s Nox (2010) – will ‘anchor’ our theoretical discussions throughout the course.
In our final session, we will address the question whether the recent rise of the multimodal novel can be seen as a sign of endurance of the printed book in the digital age or a nostalgic but possibly futile act of resistance to (media) change.
Upon completing this course, you will have
- sound knowledge of the current theoretical debate dealing with the rise of the multimodal novel since the millennium on the one hand and with the interplay of textual strategies and reader cognition on the other
- gained practice in assessing critically the role of embodied cognition, materiality and mediality in literary reading
- worked out your specific focus of interest regarding the different theoretical approaches and developed a specific line of argument to be discussed in your term paper.
- experience in developing arguments about topics in a clear and convincing fashion
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Seminar, two hours per week for ten weeks.
In the course of the semester, you will develop a specific focus of interest and a concrete claim to write about in your term paper. Throughout the sessions, we will discuss possible projects, convincing lines of argument and general requirements of scholarly writing. Additionally, one of our sessions will focus on the presentation of your work-in-progress to allow for joint discussion and feedback.
- Attendance is obligatory at 8 out of 10 seminars. Students must play an active role in the seminars in order to pass the course. Please note that absence exceeding 50 % of all seminars may not be approved, regardless of any excuses.
- You are required to hand in one written assignment in form of a outline in preparation of your project presentation. Read more about guidelines for compulsory activities.
- Additional absences must be justified to the exam coordinator. Read more about rules concerning valid excuses and how to apply for approved absences or postponements.
The obligatory requirements must be fulfilled in order to qualify for the exam.
The assessment of the course is based on a term paper of approximately 9 pages.
The submission of exam papers takes place on Inspera.
Submit assignments in Inspera
You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.
Use of sources and citation
Language of examination
You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.
Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.
Explanations and appeals
Resit an examination
Withdrawal from an examination
A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.
If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.
Special examination arrangements
Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.