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A Truth Universally Acknowledged?: Pride and Prejudice and Mind-Reading Fans
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5265-6421
2015 (English)In: Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies, ISSN 1946-2204, Vol. 7, no 2, 93-110 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice has been adapted numerous times: as stage productions, TV-series, films and even a musical. It has also occasioned a number of novelistic continuations in the form of sequels, prequels and mash-ups. Each narrative contributes in various ways to the archontic text of Pride and Prejudice (Derecho 2006), or enlarges the storyworld in which audiences are encouraged to immerse themselves (Herman 2003). Fan practices of different kinds illustrate how audience members have cognitively responded to the transmedial storyworld; to its consistent narrative elements, but also to the discrepancies and tensions that arise from conflicting narrative details, chains of events, and characterizations. With a starting point in cognitive theories dealing with Theory of Mind, and particularly the concomitant issue of embedded narratives (Palmer 2004), the article examines fan fiction from three online archives, The Republic of Pemberley, The Austen Interlude, and Archive of Our Own in order to illuminate forms of narrative immersion and to identify the story elements that elicit cognitive response. The Republic is a closely monitored site, i.e. fandom responses to storyworld elements are reigned in and the stories are expected to conform quite closely to themes, characterizations and the style of Austen’s writing. Analyses of narrative details and characterizations that are overrepresented in the stories nevertheless testify to how particular cues in the canon have given rise to intense cognitive and affective engagement. More resistive example stories, published at The Austen Interlude and Archive of Our Own rather work to negotiate and ‘correct’ the canon. Contrastive analyses thus illuminate how fans re-focus the canon archive or enlarge the storyworld.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Nebraska Press, 2015. Vol. 7, no 2, 93-110 p.
Keyword [en]
fan fiction, arcontic storyworlds, Pride and Prejudice, Theory of Mind, embedded narratives
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-112121OAI: diva2:875886
Available from: 2015-12-02 Created: 2015-12-02 Last updated: 2016-02-24Bibliographically approved

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Lindgren Leavenworth, Maria
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Department of language studies
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