AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Upgrading ekphrasis: representations of digital space and virtual worlds in contemporary literature

by Nina Shiel

Institution: Dublin City University
Department: School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Year: 2015
Keywords: Literature; Comparative Literature
Record ID: 1179829
Full text PDF: http://doras.dcu.ie/20416/


This thesis addresses the concept of ekphrasis from a new perspective: in the context of digital graphics. The focus of this thesis lies in textual representations of computer-generated immersive and interactive graphical environments, or ‘virtual worlds’. This thesis puts forward an ekphrasis that is spurred by an emotional experience of a visual artwork that has a significant spatial aspect. It is suggested that the viewer/user of such an artwork does not simply gaze from outside, but is incorporated into the digital artwork as an active participant through the immersive and interactive elements. Such a multisensory experience of an artwork has several effects on the dynamic between the viewer/user and the artwork, and, subsequently, also on the process of transmitting that experience to the readers via textual ekphrasis. In its discussion, this thesis focuses on three key texts: William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984), Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash (1992) and Charles Stross’s Halting State (2008). Finally, this thesis puts forward a proposal for the operation of 'virtual' ekphrasis through five interrelated principles: metaphor, separation, interface, participation and sharing.