Metalepsis and Intermediality. Into the Screen, Beyond the Adaptation in Lost in Austen
The essay tackles the role of the metalepsis in relation to the paradigm shift from the window era to the screen era. Metalepsis here is defined as a literary and artistic device which conflates different narrative levels, allowing illicit circulation between what is given as ‘real’ and what is given as fictional in a fiction. Starting from the above mentioned paradigm shift (from representation to vision, from a single and fixed image to a multiplicity of moving spaces), as well as McHale’s conceptualization of modernism and postmodernism as linked – respectively – to epistemological and ontological concerns, the metalepsis is read as a symptom or an index of broader changes. An important but on the whole marginal device before postmodernism, it acquires a capital function in postmodern poetics, as a means to dramatize ontological issues. In the contemporary context, metalepsis can be found everywhere, especially in pop culture, and has undergone a process of banalization, turning into a cliché and losing its most provocative traits. However, in this historical phase, in which the text has become an intermedial construct, metalepsis seems to have acquired new functions, as a means to problematize the relationships between different media, different cultural-technological environments, watching and reading, convergence, and so forth, on and through the screen. Along these lines, by analysing the ITV miniseries Lost in Austen, the notion of metalepsis is used as a tool to investigate and challenge what has been traditionally conceived as adaptation.
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