Metalepsis and Intermediality. Into the Screen, Beyond the Adaptation in Lost in Austen

Donata Meneghelli


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.


Lost in Austen; Metalepsis; Adaptation; Ontology; Superimposition/Dissolve

Full Text:

PDF (Italiano)


Alberti, Leon Battista, De la peinture / De Pictura, Ed. Jean-Lous Schefer, Paris, Macula, 1992.

Borges, Jorge-Luis, Otras inquisiciones (1960), trad. it. Altre inquisizioni, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1973.

Carbone, Mauro, Filosofia-schermi, Milano, Raffaele Cortina, 2016

Collins, Jim, Bring on the Books for Everybody. How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2010.

Damisch, Hubert, L’Origine de la perspective (1987), trad. it. L’origine della prospettiva, Napoli, Guida, 1992.

Eco, Umberto, Lector in fabula. La cooperazione interpretativa nei testi narrativi, Milano, Bompiani, 1979.

Fludernik, Monica, “Scene Shift, Metalepsis, and the Metaleptic Mode”, Style, 37 (2003): 382-400.

Friedberg, Anne, The Virtual Window. From Alberti to Mycrosoft, Cambridge, Mass. and London, The MIT Press, 2006.

Genette, Gérard, Figures III. Discours du récit (1972), trad. it. Figure III. Discorso del racconto, Torino, Einaudi, 1976.

Genette, Gérard, Nouveau discours du récit (1983), trad. it. Nuovo discorso del racconto, Torino, Einaudi, 1987.

Genette, Gèrard, Métalepse. De la figure à la fiction, Paris, Seuil, 2004.

Hutcheon, Linda, A Theory of Adaptation (2006), trad. it. Teoria degli adattamenti, Roma, Armando, 2011.

Jameson, Fredric, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), trad. it. Postmodernismo o la logica culturale del tardo capitalismo, Roma, Fazi, 2007.

Jenkins, Henry, Convergence Culture (2006), trad. it. Cultura convergente, Milano, Apogeo, 2007.

Kukkonen, Karin – Klimek, Sonia, “Metalepsis in Popular Cuture: An Introducion”, Metalepsis in Popular Culture, Eds. Karin Kukkonen – Sonia Klimek, Berlin, de Gruyter, 2011, pp. 1-21.

Lavocat, Françoise, Fait et fiction. Pour un frontière, Paris, Seuil, 2016.

Maas, Sander van, “Opening the Audiobook”, Comparative Literature, special issue The Material Turn in Comparative Literature, 70.3 (2018): 337-356.

McHale, Brian, Postmodernist Fiction, London, Methuen, 1987.

Meneghelli, Donata, Senza fine. Sequel, prequel, altre continuazioni: il testo espanso, Milano, Morellini, 2018.

Pier, John - Schaeffer, Jean-Marie (eds.), Métalepses. Entorses au pacte de la représentation, Paris, Éd. de l’EHESS, 2005.

Pinto, Page, “Replacing Jane: Fandom and Fidelity in Dan Zeff’s Lost in Austen”, persuasion-online, 37.1 (2016).

Ridout, Alice, “Lost in Austen: Adaptation and the Feminist Politics of Nostalgia”, Adaptation, 4.1 (2010): 14-27.

Robbe-Grillet, Alain, “Sur quelques notions périmées”, Pour un nouveau roman, Paris, Minuit, 1961: 25-44.

Ryan, Marie-Laure, “Logique culturelle de la métalepse, ou la métalepse dans tous ses états”, Métalepses. Entorses au pacte de la représentation, Eds. John Pier - Jean-Marie Schaeffer, Paris, Éd. de l’EHESS, 2005: 201-224.

Ryan, Marie-Laure, Avatars of Story, London – Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2006.

Tenen, Dennis, Plain Text: The Poetics of Computation, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2017, Kindle edition.

Tigges, Wim, “Lost in Austen: A Postmodern Reanimation of Pride and Prejudice”, persuasion-online, vol. 39, n. 1, 2018.

Turk, Tisha, “Metalepsis in Fan Vids and Fan Fiction”, Metalepsis in Popular Culture, Eds. Karin Kukkonen – Sonia Klimek, Berlin, de Gruyter, 2011: 83-103.

Wolf, Werner, “Metalepsis as a Transgeneric and Transmedial Phenomenon: A Case Study of the Possibilities of ‘Exporting’ Narratological Concepts”, Narratology beyond Literary Criticism: Mediality, Disciplinarity, Ed. Jean Cristoph Meister, Berlin, de Gruyter, 2005.



Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


Between is published by the University of Cagliari - Maintenance for this OJS installation is provided by UniCA Open Journals, hosted by Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo.

Between Journal was founded in 2011 with the financial contribution of Fondazione Banco di Sardegna (years 2010-2011).

ISSN 2039-6597 

CC-By lockssDOAJ seal SPARC Europe