Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy

Katherine Powlesland

Italian Perspectives 53

Legenda

  Autumn 2021

ISBN: 978-1-839540-37-0 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-839540-38-7 (paperback, forthcoming)

ISBN: 978-1-839540-39-4 (JSTOR ebook)

MedievalItalianPoetry


Since the earliest days of its circulation, Dante’s Divine Comedy has drawn readers into conversation with it, but what is it that makes the poem so particularly involving? And why might videogames help us understand this better?

Drawing on new theories in cognitive neuroscience and videogame critical theory, in this ground-breaking analysis Katherine Powlesland reveals the narrative strategies by which Dante invites the reader into an unusually cognitively participatory experience of the journey out of the dark wood and towards the encounter with the divine. By reading key narrated interactions in the poem through certain videogame mechanics of participation, Powlesland sheds new light on the poet’s ingenious deployment of textual narratological mechanisms of immersion, world creation, perspective, narrative mediation, and narrative indeterminacy. In this way, she demonstrates how Dante’s narrative innovations cue an experience of embodied immersion – so-called ‘presence’ – at the virtual encounters of the poem, blurring cognitive boundaries between the virtual and the real, and irresistibly drawing the responsive reader into repeated participation in those conversations.

Katherine Powlesland gained her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2018.

Bibliography entry:

Powlesland, Katherine, Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy, Italian Perspectives, 53 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2021)

First footnote reference: 35 Katherine Powlesland, Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy, Italian Perspectives, 53 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2021), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Powlesland, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Powlesland, Katherine. 2021. Narrative Strategies for Participation in Dante's Divine Comedy, Italian Perspectives, 53 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Powlesland 2021: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Powlesland 2021: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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