Translatio

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Ce volume est le fruit du colloque international "Translatio : Transmédialité et Transculturalité" qui a eu lieu au Centre de recherches ibéro-américaines et francophones de l'Université de Leipzig du 29 juin au 3 juillet 2011, avec l'objectif de promouvoir le dialogue transdisciplinaire et transculturel concernant le domaine de recherches sur la traduction culturelle, la translatio et les stratégies médiales, et de soumettre des théories et des champs de recherche actuels à un examen scientifique critique.
Publié le : lundi 1 juillet 2013
Lecture(s) : 262
EAN13 : 9782336320519
Nombre de pages : 360
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Transversalité
TRANSLATIO
Transmédialité et transculturalité
en littérature, peinture,
photographie et au cinéma
Amériques
Europe
Maghreb
Le volume est le fruit du colloque international Translatio :
Transmédialité et Transculturalité qui a eu lieu au Centre de
recherches ibéro-américaines et francophones de l’Université
de Leipzig du 29 juin au 3 juillet 2011, avec l’objectif de promouvoir
le dialogue transdisciplinaire et transculturel concernant le
nouveau domaine de recherches sur la traduction culturelle,
la translatio, et sur les stratégies médiales, comme celles de
la « transmédialité », et de soumettre en même temps des
théories et des champs de recherche actuels et centraux à
un examen scientifique critique. La « transdisciplinarité »,
la « transmédialité » et la « transculturalité », représentent
toutes sortes de processus de translation et ont pris une
place importante dans le colloque, avec l’intention d’apporter
une contribution à la formation de la théorie, ou plutôt de
la métathéorie, afin de s’opposer à certaines tendances
arbitraires et ludiques de l’interprète dans ce domaine.
À cet ouvrage ont contribué W. Bongers, M. Calle-Gruber, A. de Toro, L. Elleström,
U. Felten, U. Fendler, N. Gernalzick, E. Gruber, C. Kohlross, F. Italiano, S. Packard,
I. Rajewsky, V. Roloff, M. Rössner, M. Segarra, M. Schmitz-Emans, B. Schuchardt,
K. Zekri.
Direction du volume : Alfonso de Toro (Centre de recherches francophones de
l’Université de Leipzig)
ISBN : 978-2-343-00075-6
38 € 9 782343 000756
Transversalité
Sous la TRANSLATIO
direction de
Alfonso
Transmédialité
de Toro et transculturalité
en littérature,
peinture,
photographie
et au cinéma
Amériques
Europe
Maghreb
TRANSLATIO
Sous la direction de
Transmédialité et transculturalité
Alfonso de Toro
en littérature, peinture, photographie et au cinéma




TRANSLATIO

Transmédialité et transculturalité en

littérature, peinture, photographie et au cinéma

























Sous la direction de
Alfonso de Toro




TRANSLATIO

Transmédialité et transculturalité en

littérature, peinture, photographie et au cinéma


Amériques –Caraïbes –Europe –Maghreb









Frédéric Abécassis Assia Belhabib Mireille Calle-Gruber Amaryll Chanady
(École normale (Université Ibn Tofaïl (Paris 3 Sorbonne) (University of
supérieure de de Kénitra) Mireille.calle- Montreal)
Lyon – LARHRA) kenzamaria@yahoo.fr gruber@univ-paris3.fr amaryll.chanady@um
frederic.abecassis@ ontreal.ca
ens-lyon.fr
Yolande Cohen Michèle Druon Claudia Gronemann Johan F. Goud
(Université du (California State (Universität (Utrecht University)
Québec à Montréal) University Fullerton) Mannheim) J.F.Goud@uu.nl
yolande.cohen@free. mdruon@fullerton. gronemann@phil.
unifr edu mannheim.de
Pierre Halen Patrick Imbert Birgit Mertz- Ursula Moser
(Université de Metz) (Université d’Ottawa) Baumgartner (Universität
pierre.halen@univ- pimbert@uOttawa.ca (Universität Innsbruck) Innsbruck)
metz.fr Birgit.Mertz- u.moser@uibk.ac.at
Baumgartner@uibk.ac.
at
Irina Rajewsky Aninne Schneider Beatrice Schuchardt Marta Segarra
(Freie Universität (Sabanci University) (Universität Siegen) (Universitat de
Berlin) schneider@sabanciun schuchardt@romanis Barcelona)
irina.rajewsky@fu- iv.edu tik.uni-siegen.de martasegarra@ub.edu
berlin.de
Klaus Semsch Roland Spiller Abderrahman Tenkoul Emanuela Trevisan
(Universität (Universität (Université Ibn Tofaïl Semi
Düsseldorf) Frankfurt) de Kénitra) (Università
semsch@arcor.de R.Spiller@em.uni- abderrahmantenkoul@ Ca’Foscari, Venezia)
frankfurt.de yahoo.fr tresemi@unive.it

Rédaction : Juliane Tauchnitz
Responsables de ce volume : René Ceballos, Annegret Richter, Coralie Gaucherot,
Juliane Tauchnitz.

© Image de couverture : Jürgen Meier 2008 (J. L. Borges, « Le livre de sable »)


© L'Harmattan, 2013
5-7, rue de l'École-Polytechnique ; 75005 Paris

http://www.librairieharmattan.com
diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr
harmattan1@wanadoo.fr

ISBN : 978-2-343-00 075-6
EAN : 978234300 0756

PRESENTATION DE LA COLLECTION
TRANSVERSALITE

Études et recherches sur les transitions, oscillations et
interstices littéraires, transculturels et transdisciplinaires.

La nouvelle collection « Transversalité. Études et recherches sur les
transitions, oscillations et interstices littéraires, culturels et disciplinaires »
se concentre sur trois axes de travail : sur la ‘transculturalité’, la
‘transmédialité’ et la ‘transdisciplinarité’ fondées dans une pensée de
‘science transversale’ avec une très haute effectivité et capacité
opérationnelle ainsi que réflexive qui se propose comme un instrument
fondamental, adéquat et nécessaire pour analyser la complexité, la diversité
et la pluralité de la culture, de la littérature, de la pensée et de
l’épistémologie dans le monde actuel.
La collection Transversalité met au centre de ses analyses et de ses
préoccupations des processus culturels et scientifiques apparaissant aux
points d’intersection, dans ces lieux où se forment de nouveaux paradigmes
scientifiques et une diversité des mondes culturels. Il s’agit d’un projet et
d’une attitude épistémologique pour organiser, voir et penser le monde, la
vie, la culture et les sciences d’une manière différente et novatrice.
Transversalité implique d’une part la transgression consciente des
disciplines traditionnelles et l’interrelation des domaines différents du savoir
et des sciences ; d’autre part, elle rend possible un parcours des
entrelacements, des réseaux culturels et des problématiques oscillant entre
localisation et délocalisation culturelles. Transversalité se consacre aux
différents processus d’hybridation provenant par exemple des cultures du
monde francophone, mais aussi de la France, des Antilles, des Caraïbes, du
Maghreb, de l’Afrique subsaharienne et du Canada francophone.
C’est précisément dans ce contexte qu’il faut analyser les problèmes
urgents de l’actualité à partir de différents travaux d’intellectuels, d’artistes,
de philosophes, de cinéastes, d’écrivains qui apportent une contribution
unique au savoir et à la description de l’état de notre culture et de notre
société dans le paysage culturel international. Les objets d’études seront de
diverses natures et auront pour référence particulière les cultures et
littératures francophones.

Site de la collection : Centre de Recherches Francophones de l’Université de
Leipzig (FFSL) : http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~ffsl/
E-Mail : ffsl@rz.uni-leipzig.de


5

AVANT-PROPOS

TRANSLATIO
TRANSMEDIALITE  TRANSCULTURALITE

Alfonso DE TORO, Centres de Recherches Ibéro-américaines et
Francophones de l’Université de Leipzig.

Le volume est le fruit du colloque international, Translatio :
Transmédialité  Transculturalité, qui a eu lieu grâce au soutien de la
Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft aux Centres de Recherches
IbéroAméricaines et Francophones de l’Université de Leipzig du 29 juin au 3
juillet 2011 avec l’objectif de promouvoir le dialogue transdisciplinaire et
transculturel concernant le domaine récent de recherches de la traduction
culturelle que nous appelons ‘translatio’ et des stratégies médiales comme
celles de la ‘transmédialité’ dans les régions des deux Amériques, des
Caraïbes, de l’Europe et du Maghreb, et en même temps de soumettre des
théories et des champs de recherche actuels et centraux à un examen
scientifique critique.
Le colloque est, depuis 1992, une partie de la recherche médiatique dans
le cadre des Études Culturelles et Littéraires dans les deux centres
mentionnés et s’est inspiré du colloque international qu’avait mené Mme. le
Prof. Dr. Nadja Gernalzick à Mayence Transmediality & Transculturality –
International and Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium (du 6 au 9
Décembre 2007) et du Workshop Transmedialität. Erzählung – Inszenierung
– Übersetzung (Transmédialité. Récit – Mise en scène – Traduction)
organisé par M. le Prof. Dr. Dr. Michael Rössner et M. le Dr. Federico
Italiano à l’Académie des Sciences de Vienne (les 22 et 23 Mars 2010).
La littérature, le théâtre, le cinéma, la vidéo, la photographie, les
beauxarts et Internet, en provenance des Amériques, des Caraïbes, de l’Europe et
du Maghreb, ont été examinés avec le questionnement actuel de la
translation et les pratiques de « transdisciplinarité », de « transculturalité » et
de « transtextualité » qui en résultent.
Les théories et les approches qui se sont établies comme domaines de
recherches essentiels surtout en Allemagne et en Suisse dans le cadre de
l’Académie des Sciences de Vienne, mais qui ont également été développées
aux États-Unis depuis tout au plus une décennie, doivent être mises en
dialogue de façon exemplaire dans une démarche comparatiste et
expérimentée sur l’analyse des domaines culturels énoncés dans le titre. Ceci
afin de mettre en relief de façon scientifique et méthodique les stratégies
médiales novatrices dans un contexte plus large.
7
Il faut souligner que ce sont, dans ce contexte, justement les Etudes
anglaises, romanes et germaniques, tout comme les sciences des médias – qui
travaillent à partir d’approches théorico-culturelles et esthétiques (comme
par exemple en Suisse) – qui sont éminentes dans le domaine de la
transmédialité et qui ont accompli des contributions remarquables.
Il faut se souvenir que la littérature et le théâtre sont précisément les
médias qui ont devancé leur temps, anticipé et conçu les nouvelles formes
visuelles, acoustiques, digitales ou électroniques de la vision, ainsi que des
nouveaux médias et différents jeux de perception, comme cela est
brillamment démontré dans The New Media Reader (Cambridge,
Massachussetts/ London : MIT Press 2003) ; (voir en outre la bibliographie
exhaustive en fin d’argumentaire). Des auteurs comme Flaubert (surtout
dans L’Éducation sentimentale) et Proust (À la Recherche du temps perdu),
ou encore des auteurs plus récents comme Borges (dans de nombreux récits
comme « Le Livre de sable », « L’Aleph », « Le jardin aux sentiers qui
bifurquent », « Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius », 1939-1946) et Bioy Casares
(dans L’invention de Morel, 1940) en Argentine, Alain Robbe-Grillet en
France, ou Vargas Llosa au Pérou (Tante Julia et le scribouillard ou plutôt
dans Éloge de la marâtre), mais aussi le Marocain Abdelkebir Khatibi dans
La mémoire tatouée (1971), Penser le Maghreb (1993) ou Peintres de
Doukkala. Le don de la terre (1994) ont déjà développé de nombreuses
approches médiales, se sont occupés de la relation image / texte / film /
photo, production et perception et ont bien souvent travaillé dans les deux
domaines, qu’il s’agisse du médial-écrit ou du médial-visuel. Dans le
domaine théâtral, l’utilisation de différents médias est courante depuis les
années 1960 mais a augmenté au cours des années 1980 et 1990.
Les différentes lignes de recherche qui sont marquées par différents
objets et genres de textes et localisées dans différentes cultures, ont été ici
mises en dialogue avec des méthodes et une amplitude comparatiste
adéquate. Différents concepts sont alors en concurrence, comme
transmédialité ou intermédialité, qui décrivent les diverses approches de
l’objet qu’est le « média ». Mais tous se réfèrent à des processus et des
phénomènes centraux des pratiques de la production et de la perception.
C’est pourquoi l’approche du colloque ne vise pas l’exclusion ou
l’uniformisation forcée des concepts, mais un dialogue productif,
renseignant sur la formation de la théorie par rapport à la question de la
différence entre intermédialité et transmédialité, sur les domaines qu’elles
prennent en considération, sur les aspects novateurs qu’elles développent,
entre autres en ce qui concerne l’homogénéité ou l’inachèvement,
l’organisation hybride ou homogène de signes et de systèmes de signes. Un
consensus devrait régner sur le fait qu’il s’agit de processus et de stratégies
esthétiques qui peuvent être décrits par les termes de passages, de transitions,
d’interfaces, de réinventions, de translation, de dissémination du sens, de
tension etc. et qu’il faut toujours traiter ce genre de processus et de stratégies
8
en dépassant les objets et les cultures, c’est-à-dire de façon transmédiale,
transdisciplinaire et transculturelle.
La «« transdiscipllinarité », la a « transmédialité » et laa « transcultuuralité »,
qui représentent toutes des processus de translation, ont pris par conséquent
une place importante dans lle colloque avec l’intention d’accomplir
également une contribution pour la formation de la théorie, ou pluttôt de la
métathéorie, pour s’opposer à certaines tendances de ce domaine qui
semblent se caractériser par le fait que l’interprétation s’oriente à peine sur
des annalyses auxx fondemennts épistémmologiques et aux rééférences
fonctionnnelles et hhistoriques, mmais qu´ellee est le réssultat de l’aarbitraire
ludique de l’interprète.

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Spielformen der Intermedialität im spanischen und lateinamerikanischen
Surrealismus. Bielefeld : Transcript, pp. 317-356.
12
Toro, Alfonso de (2008). Borges Infinitio. Borgesvirtual. Pensamiento y
Saber en los Siglos XX y XXI. (TKKL/TCCL, vol. 41).
Hildesheim/Zürich/New York : Olms.
Toro, Alfonso de (éd.) (2009). Dispositivos espectaculares
latinoamericanos. Nuevas Hibridaciones – Transmedializaciones –
Cuerpo. Hildesheim/Zürich/New York : Olms.
2Toro, Alfonso de (2009/ 2010). Epistémologies. ‘Le Maghreb’. Hybridité –
Transculturalité − Transmédialité – Transtextualité − Corps –
Globalisation – Diasporisation. Paris : L’Hamattan.
Wardrip-Fruin, Noa/Montfort, Nick (éds.). The New Media Reader.
Cambridge/Massachusetts/London : MIT Press.
Wagner, Peter (1996). « Introduction : Ekphrasis, Iconotexts, and
Intermediality – the State(s) of the Art(s) », in : idem (éd.). Icon – Texts –
Iconotexts Essays on Ekphrasis and Intermediality. Berlin/New York : de
Gruyter, pp. 1-40.
Wagner, Peter (1996). Icons - texts – iconotexts. Essays on ekphrasis and
intermediality. Berlin/New York : de Gruyter.
Wirth, Uwe (2006). « Hypertextuelle Aufpfropfung als Übergangsform
zwischen Intermedialität und Transmedialität », in : Urs Meyer/Roberto
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paraliterarischer Verfahren. Göttingen : Wallstein, pp. 19-38.










13
INAUGURATION LECTURE/
CONFÉRENCE D’OUVERTURE

POTENTIAL POTENTIALS OF TRANSMEDIALITY
THE MEDIA BLINDNESS OF (CLASSICAL)
NARRATOLOGY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR
TRANSMEDIAL APPROACHES


Irina RAJEWSKY, Freie Universität Berlin.

Current research in processes of (inter)medial exchange and
transformation abounds in overlapping terms, all of which refer to the
plethora of omnifarious relations between media. ‘Intermediality’ has
certainly been one of the most successful and prevalent terms to emerge
1from the respective debates of the past two decades . As a term and research
paradigm it gained momentum in the 1990s and has ever since
internationally resonated in widely diverse disciplinary contexts. Its
sustained success is not only reflected by a large (and still increasing)
number of related publications and conferences but also by the fact that
universities have taken up intermediality studies and incorporated it into
their curricula. The growing interest in intermedial research perspectives has,
moreover, prompted the foundation of national and international scholarly
associations devoted to the study of intermediality. However, recent years
have also seen the rapid rise of another term germane to the conceptual field
of intermediality, namely ‘transmediality’. An increasing number of
publications and international conferences that have recently focused on the
concept of transmediality are indicative of such a development. This
growing debate brings to the fore different conceptions of transmediality,
and those who participate in it attribute transmediality with particular
potentials that define it against intermediality.
A specific branch of narratology that has been evolving since around 2004/
2005 plays a central part in this context : so-called ‘transmedial’ or
‘transgeneric and transmedial narratology’ (depending on the respective focus). This,
as yet, incipient field of research belongs to the lines of narrative studies that
are linked to ‘postclassical’ narratology. The latter is characterized by a
farreaching « expansion of research agendas » (Pier 2010 : 11) among which
one may count attempts at making narrative research a ‘general and
comparative’ project spanning various genres, arts and media. This is to say

* I wish to extend my thanks to Katharina Bantleon for proofreading, her helpful comments
and our enlightening discussions.
1 ‘Intermediality’, as it is used here, is to be distinguished from the term ‘intermedia’ as
launched in the US-American debate by Dick Higgins (cf. Higgins 1966/1984, Yalkut 1973,
Rajewsky 2002 : 9 et seq.).
17
that narrative research is on its way to becoming a ‘transgeneric’ and
‘trans2‘transmedial’ project . Moreover, the interest in art- and media-comparative
issues and approaches has generally increased as of late and has thus spread
3beyond narrative studies . The research area of transgeneric and transmedial
narratology should, therefore, not only be understood as a specific direction
in (post-classical) narratology but also as a subsection of a wider field of
research for which the term ‘transmediality studies’ has lately become
prevaprevalent. However, what remains poorly reflected in the related discourse is
that transmediality has attracted attention beyond the aforementioned fields
of research. In fact, a mere cursory glance at recent and current publications
in the field of transmedial narratology, on which I will concentrate here,
shows that they do not discuss or problematize the notion of transmediality
4as such to any significant extent . Against the backdrop of the numerous
controversies the term intermediality has triggered over the past two decades
it is indeed astonishing that contemporary narrative studies are unanimous in
5their agreement to understand and define it in terms of ‘across media’.
Transmedial narratology thus implies a media-comprehensive as well as an
arts- and media-comparative orientation in narrative studies. Lacking
controversy, pertinent publications show that the proponents of a transmedial
narratology obviously see no need to disambiguate the term for they
6apparently perceive it to be sufficiently clarified or self-explanatory .
However, when taking into consideration other areas of research that
employ the concept of transmediality and related terms (such as
7‘transmedialization’ or ‘transmediation’) , the situation is quite different. On
the one hand it becomes apparent that the terms in question are used and

2 One could also speak of reviving such a project in the wake of French narratology of the
1960s (Bremond, Barthes et al.), at least as far as its intent was concerned. Subsequently,
scholars such as Seymour Chatman (1978, 1980, 1990) rekindled and advanced respective
considerations from as early as the 1970s onward. For more detail cf. Ryan 2005, Rajewsky
2007.
3 The Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz’s book series Studies in Intermediality
(published by Rodopi) can be quoted as an example.
4 See, among several others, the pioneering publications by David Herman (2004) and
MarieLaure Ryan (2005). Exceptions are, for instance, Weidle (2007), Wolf (2007 and 2009),
Poppe (2008), Palmier (2010).
5 Such an understanding is incidentally also the underlying notion of Henry Jenkins’s concept
of transmedia storytelling : « Transmedia, used by itself, simply means ‘across media’ »
(Jenkins 2011 : s. p.).
6 Cf., for instance, Roy Sommer, who in 2005 (when transgeneric and transmedial narratology
was not yet by any means an established concept) noted that more recent approaches to a
‘narratology of drama’ « could […] prepare the ground for a systematic transgeneric and
transmedial narrative theory » (Sommer 2005/2008 : 122). As he refrains from any further
explanations, Sommer apparently assumes the wording to be self-explanatory.
7 The term ‘transmedialization’ (‘Transmedialisierung’) has been adopted by Karin Wenz
(2004, 2006) ; on ‘transmediation’ see below.
18
defined in a variety of different ways and that, all things considered, one can
therefore by no means speak of a unanimous definition and understanding of
‘transmediality’. On the other hand we notice that contrary to transmedial
narratology, where little attention is paid to the term as such, other areas of
research focus on the very term, or concept, which has accordingly been
8subjected to discussion .
Against this backdrop, a scrutiny of the term and its various conceptions
is doubtlessly useful and necessary. However, in light of recent developments
in research, one could also pose a more fundamental question, namely :
‘Why propagate transmediality when, after two decades, we are still striving
to define intermediality’ ? The barely assessable terminological field
surrounding ‘mediality’ may create reasonable doubt as to whether or not it
is useful and heuristically advantageous to bring to the fore ‘transmediality’
from a long list of related terms : inter-, intra-, infra-, cross-, multi-, poly-,
pluri-, meta-, para-, archi- and transmediality. And this is not even considering
further terms and concepts such as ‘transcriptivity’ (« Transkriptivität »,
Jä9ger), ‘remediation’ (Bolter/Grusin) or, most recently, ‘intermateriality’ . On
close consideration, the specific question as to how inter- and transmediality
relate appears to be even more relevant, especially since in the majority of
cases the notion of transmediality has been invoked in the context, or before
the background, of the intermediality debate. Accordingly, Urs Meyer’s,
Roberto Simanowski’s and Christoph Zeller’s preface to the 2006 collected
volume Transmedialität. Zur Ästhetik paraliterarischer Verfahren opens
with, and then pursues in more detail, the observation that ‘the term
transmediality is conspicuously related to that of intermediality’ (« Der Begriff der
Transmedialität steht in auffälliger Beziehung zu dem der Intermedialität »,
102006a : 7 ). Titles of publications and conferences featuring both terms also
point in this direction. Tellingly, they tend to use a slash to allow for several
alternative possibilities of relating the two categories (that is, ‘and’, ‘or’,
‘versus’, ‘respectively’). This was, for instance, the case with «
Intermedialität/Transmedialität » (Freyermuth, ed.), a 2007 thematic issue of the
figurationen. gender literatur kultur journal as well as with
Intermediality/Transmediality and Transculturality in Literature, Painting,
Photography, Film, the international conference held at the University of
Leipzig from which the current volume proceeds.

8 This became highly apparent during the conference on which this volume is based. See also
Meyer/Simanowski/Zeller 2006.
9 To my knowledge, the term ‘intermateriality’ was first mentioned by Schröter (2008). Cf.
also Kleinschmidt (2010 and 2012) as well as the ongoing research project «
Intermateriality » (and a related 2012 symposium), supervised by Thomas Strässle at Hochschule der
Künste Bern/Switzerland (http://www.intermaterialitaet.ch).
10 Unless otherwise indicated, all following translations are mine.
19
Such open phrasing on the one hand makes it possible to acknowledge
and deliberate diverse notions of both trans- and intermediality, while on the
other hand it also indicates the difficulties that (may) arise upon attempting
to define the boundaries between the two categories. Indeed, one has to take
into account that the ongoing intermediality debate is in itself characterized
by a variety of heterogeneous approaches that span a vast range of subject
matter and research perspectives. Introducing yet another keyword does not
simplify matters, especially since transmediality and intermediality may
prima facie appear to be interchangeable terms. It is hence not surprising that
some have gained the impression that the issue here is merely to launch a
new ‘buzzword’. Such an impression is even evoked by some of the
pertaining publications themselves. Claiming that primary attention should
be aimed at the concept of trans- rather than at that of intermediality, Meyer,
Simanowski and Zeller (2006a : 8), for instance, speak of ‘exchanging the
determiner’ (« Austausch des Bestimmungswortes », my emphasis). It may
be due to this and similar wordings in the volume that Jens Zwernemann
used the publication as an opportunity to cast a critical glance at ‘the (short)
lifespan of paradigms in the humanities’ (« (kurze) Lebenszeit
geisteswissenschaftlicher Paradigmen », s.p.), as he phrases it in the subtitle
of his 2007 review. The latter opens by stating that ‘innovation is en vogue’
(« Innovation ist in », ibid.) and continues by quoting the ever more
frequently and speedily proclaimed ‘turns’ as an indicator for the fact that
today ‘nothing appears to be more boring than yesterday’s paradigm’
(« nichts, so scheint es, ist mittlerweile langweiliger als das Paradigma von
gestern », ibid.). Critical comments in this vein, once again foreground the
question as to the exact denotation – or rather the various denotations – of
the term transmediality as well as to what extent it can be related to, or
distinguished from, intermediality. Hence, the issue is the specific heuristic
11potential of different conceptions of transmediality .
Obviously, the scope of this contribution does not allow for a comprehensive
discussion of transmediality at large. In the following I will therefore focus
on ‘transmediality’ as conceptualized within the context of transmedial
narratology and related fields. The understanding of the term in this
particular line of research is generally in accordance with the one I

11 The intermediality debate has adequately exemplified that attempts at pinpointing
respective terms to ‘one’ concept or ‘one’ theory are inevitably bound to fail. They are inapt to
account for the extensive range of subject matters as well as the various research interests and
objectives. Accordingly, in the field of intermediality studies the question – still declared
‘fundamental’ (« grundlegend ») in 2001 – as to what ‘the concept of intermediality actually
means’ (« was nun mit dem Begriff ‘Intermedialität’ tatsächlich gemeint ist », Ochsner/Grivel
2001 : 4, my emphasis) has been reformulated with regard to various intermediality
conceptions and their respective heuristic potentials (see Rajewsky 2005, 2010).
20
12introduced into the debate in 2002. In my ensuing discussion I will hence
not expand on concepts such as ‘transmedia storytelling’ (see Jenkins 2003,
2006/2008, 2011), although one could draw on this concept in various ways.
Nor will my analysis bear upon approaches that characterize transmediality
as a specific form of intermediality, which was the case in early studies in
intermediality and in the interart debate (cf. Herlinghaus 1994, Hoek 1995,
Vos 1997). I will further refrain from discussing positions rooted in media
studies and media philosophy, who have since the mid-1990s dealt with the
notion of the transmedium as well as with ‘transmediality’ in the context of
digital technologies (cf. Sandbothe 1996, 1997, 1998), and who contrast
‘transmediality’ against ‘multi-’ and ‘intermediality’ (cf. Freyermuth 2007a,
2007b). Nor will I investigate the area of pedagogical research, where
Charles Suhor introduced the concept of ‘transmediation’ as early as in
1984, defining it as the « translation of content from one sign system into
another » (1984 : 250 ; for further discussions see Siegel 1995, Semali/Fueyo
2001, Mills 2011). The concept of transmediation partly foreshadows recent
approaches in other scholarly disciplines, which, in the context of
transmediality, also highlight process orientation as well as a nexus between
transmediality and ‘translation’ (cf. de Toro, Italiano and Rössner in this
volume). Finally, I will omit a detailed discussion of Transmedialität. Zur
Ästhetik paraliterarischer Verfahren, the widely received volume edited by
Meyer, Simanowski and Zeller, which is paradigmatic for a new tendency in
research : namely, to pit the concepts of trans- and intermediality against
each other. Yet, this very tendency of contrasting transmediality (as the
‘more adequate, new’ research paradigm) with ‘outdated’ intermediality, in
fact functions as the starting point for my ensuing considerations.
Positions that correspond to this tendency aim at replacing the
intermediality paradigm with a transmediality paradigm, at least with regard to
certain (mainly contemporary) medial practices. As
Meyer/Simanowski/Zeller (2006a : 8) explicitly point out, their objective is
to induce a shift of focus similar to the one from intercultural to transcultural
studies. Such a paradigm shift from inter- to transmediality is intended to
emphasize the processual character of respective medial practices in the
sense of bringing to the fore the notions of transfer, transformation and
transgression. This goes hand in hand with laying stress on the assumption
that transmediality implies a moment of transgressing media boundaries
(« Grenzüberschreitung », ibid.). This, in turn, puts it in opposition to the

12 The debate has repeatedly taken up Rajewsky’s (2002) use of the term. See, e.g., Wolf
(2005/2008, 2007), Fraas/Barczok (2006), Meyer/Simanowski/Zeller (2006a), Wenz (2006),
Mahne (2007), Weidle (2007), Venohr (2010), Palmier (2010) ; see also Langewitz (2010),
who bears on Rajewsky (2002) and de Toro’s (2001) concept of transmediality in the
transcultural context. Schröter’s (1998 : 136-143) conception of ‘formal or trans-medial
intermediality’ already points in the direction of transmedial narratology’s understanding of the term.
21
‘paradigm of demarcation’ (« Paradigma der Grenzziehung », ibid.), in
which intermediality, according to Meyer/Simanowski/Zeller, remains
13perforce rooted. This already indicates that the emerging conception of
transmediality still adheres to phenomena that other approaches would
classify as ‘intermedial’.
Such a conceptualization of transmediality a priori differs from that
which has been established in narratology, where transmedial narratology
does not aim at ‘exchanging the determiner’ in the sense of
Meyer/Simanowski/Zeller (cf. 2006a : 8). It much rather proposes a research perspective
which places transmediality on a par with intermediality. Despite an
undisputable overlap between the two, transmedial narratology does not
strive to replace one term or concept with the other but juxtaposes them and
perceives either as applicable not only to researching contemporary medial
practices but also to conducting historical research.
Putting it simple, I would distinguish between intermediality as relations
between media (i.e., medial interactions, interplays or interferences) and
transmediality as pointing to phenomena that appear across media. This is to
say that transmedial phenomena (synchronously or diachronically) manifest
themselves, or are observable, in a similar way in a variety of media. Thus,
in a certain sense, we could also speak of ‘travelling phenomena’ (cf.
14Rajewsky 2002 : 12). As examples one may quote metalepsis, mise en
abyme, or metaization as well as the respective representational modes
which are not only discernible in literary texts but also in theater, film, or
painting. The same holds true for theoretical concepts and categories (as well
as discourses, paradigms, etc.) that are applicable to (or across) various
media.
Of course, this is not to say that the concepts of intermediality and
transmediality were not closely related – they certainly are and doubtlessly
overlap in ‘grey areas’. However, this does not diminish the heuristic
benefits of making a distinction between them. What is not – or ought not to
be – at issue here is to categorize or ‘pigeon-hole’ individual phenomena as
either inter- or transmedial. What such a distinction much rather aims at is to
focalize differing research interests and objectives. The concept of
transmediality may accordingly be understood as differing from
intermediality in terms of its underlying perspectives on medial practices. In

13 Meyer/Simanowski/Zeller unfortunately disregard approaches to intermediality that have
long focused their attention on transformational processes, as for example put forward by
Yvonne Spielmann and Joachim Paech. Moreover, it ought to be noted that the intermediality
debate has evolved beyond the status quo taken into account by Meyer/Simanowski/Zeller,
especially with regard to questions pertaining to drawing and transgressing boundaries
between media (see, e.g., Rajewsky 2010).
14 With Peter Matussek (2007) one could also speak of ‘medial migrations’, or with Federico
Italiano (in this vol.) of medial ‘revenants’.
22
fact, in actual analyses it may well be useful and productive to deliberate
given research issues from an intermedial as well as from a transmedial
perspective. Such a combination of viewpoints has, in effect, always been
the underlying approach of adaptation studies, which, per se, already deal
with an intermedial subject area in terms of an intermedial transposition. In
this context we are, furthermore, confronted with questions pertaining to the
applicability of, say, certain narrative strategies to the respective target
media. This is to say that these narrative strategies (and not individual film
renditions, novelizations, etc.) are investigated from a transmedial ; that is
from a media-comprehensive as well as media-comparative perspective.
Besides, specific references, e.g., of a novel’s filmic adaptation to its source
text, may be (and often are) brought to bear. Thus an intermedial mode of
15constituting meaning – a so-called intermedial reference – is accentuated :
The film constitutes itself (and is ‘received’ by the viewer) in relation to the
source text, which generates additional dimensions of meaning. This is what
brings us back to intermedial questions.
One could even take this a step further : From a transmedial perspective,
intermedial references too can be regarded as an in themselves transmedial
phenomenon and concept, since they can be actualized and observed ‘across’
media. A related research question could, for instance, be whether (or to
which extent) the concept of intermedial reference is stretched to its limits in
the context of digital media that virtualize and dematerialize medial practices
and processes (see, e.g., Schröter 2002/2004, Spielmann 2004, Rajewsky
2005, Freyermuth 2007a, 2007b).
In view of making a distinction between inter- and transmediality it
becomes apparent that transmedially observable phenomena do not
automatically imply, or presuppose, intermedial relations in the sense of
16intermedial references or transpositions. Parody, for instance, indeed
originated in literature, yet it would obviously be fallacious to thus regard
every filmic, painterly or theatrical parody as making a reference to the
textual medium. Correspondingly, certain biblical motifs (which have
become part of a collective cultural memory through a variety of medial
representations) appear in paintings, sculptures, films and other media with-

15 For ‘media combination’, ‘medial transposition’ (also referred to as ‘medial
transformation’) and ‘intermedial references’ as subcategories of intermediality cf. Rajewsky (2002 :
15-27) as well as Rajewsky (2005, 2010).
16 It is a fact that media such as theater or film are per se plurimedially (and thus also
intermedially) structured. However, this not what I am debating here. Such media can rather still be
seen as conventionally distinct ‘individual media’ (for such a definition of medium see Wolf
1999 and, for more detail, Rajewsky 2010). One further point I would like to make is that my
conception of ‘intermedial references’ is a more narrow one than the one advocated in the
wake of Julia Kristeva’s very broad notion of intertextuality (cf. Rajewsky 2002 : 43-57,
2004 : 18-21).
23
out the recipient necessarily relating them to a specific ‘source medium’, i.e.,
the Bible as a written text. Moreover, in many cases we can hardly discern a
‘target-oriented process’ (« gerichteter Prozess » Fraas/Barczok 2006 : 7).
Metaphorically speaking, this is to say that it is not always possible to
pinpoint the stages of a motif’s, an aesthetics’, a concept’s or a discourse’s
‘journey’ from A via B to C – and possibly also back. This may be due to the
fact that such a ‘journey’ is simply not (or no longer) traceable ; or it may
result from the sheer lack of an actual ‘target-oriented process’. The latter is,
for instance, the case whenever phenomena ‘pop up’ more or less
simultaneously in various media or (cultural) contexts, as could be exemplified with
the aesthetics of the Futurist movement. Sometimes it is, however, also the
case that phenomena ‘(re)appear’ at a certain time in a certain place without
having followed any particular ‘itinerary’ en route. Besides, in many
instances (re)constructing such an itinerary is simply irrelevant for the analysis
and interpretation of the respective medial configurations (text, film,
paint17ing, etc.) .
To recapitulate, we can state that intermedial references as well as
intermedial transpositions – at least in my view – imply and presuppose a
‘target-oriented process’, whereas this may, but does not necessarily have to,
apply to transmedially observable phenomena or concepts such as
metalepsis. In literature or painting metalepsis does not perforce go hand in
hand with an intermedial (or intramedial) reference to a specific ‘pretext’ or
a different medium – although it may do so in specific cases. This bears
witness to the fact that ‘thinking’ in transmedial terms may include
intermedial strategies and processes. In fact, in a transmedial line of thinking
intermediality itself is to be considered a transmedially applicable concept.
The above elucidations do not yet answer the question as to the benefits
and heuristic potential of a transmedial concept in the outlined sense. Against
their backdrop, one may continue to contemplate the actual reasons why
certain phenomena, concepts, categories, or even larger theoretical
frameworks should be investigated from a transmedial point of view. In the
following I will do just that with regard to the young field of transgeneric
and transmedial narratology. I will focus on the problematic of media
blindness, as I call it with reference to Liv Hausken (2004) and Marie-Laure
Ryan (2004a : 34). However, I will apply the concept with a slightly
different connotation, and aim it in a somewhat different direction than the
above scholars. It ought to serve the purpose of outlining one specific
potential of transgeneric and transmedial narratology that has, up to now,
been widely neglected in research.


17 In this context cf. already Rajewsky (2002 : 12et seqq.) and related Wolf (2007 : 357).
24
Other than language- or rather fiction-based approaches prevalent in
classical narratology, transgeneric and transmedial narratology aims at
investigating narrative across genres, media and academic disciplines. This
is to say, that it scrutinizes narrative as a transgeneric and transmedial
phenomenon in the sense of the above definition, encompassing
transnational and transcultural research perspectives.
In the introduction to her seminal 2004 volume, Narrative across Media,
Marie-Laure Ryan raises the question as to how one is to « do […]
transmedial narratology » (2004a : 33). In this context Ryan points out difficulties,
or « dangers », within the « fledgling » (ibid.) transdisciplinary field of a
transmedial narratology. For my discussion, I would like to slightly rephrase
Ryan’s opening question of ‘how one can do transmedial narratology’ and
what kind of problems one might encounter in ‘doing’ it. I would rather like
to ask, and concentrate on, what one can achieve by adopting a transmedial
research perspective. In other words, I will focus on the specific benefits
such an approach may offer compared to ‘traditional’ narratology with its
more or less exclusive focus on fiction, that is, on language-based
storytelling.
I will start with a few comments on transmedial narratology’s status quo
as a young field of research. Given (classical) narratology’s position as a
well-established research area and its highly differentiated theoretical and
conceptual framework for the analysis of narrative texts, it is hardly
surprising that contributions to the field of transmedial narratology have so
far mostly aimed at ‘exporting’ fiction-based narratological concepts from
literary studies to other disciplines and respective subject-matter (e.g., to
18film, theatre, comics, or computer games as well as to painting or music).
In fact, as many of the relevant publications demonstrate, various concepts
that originated from ‘classical’ narratology can be effectively applied to
other arts or media and thus qualify as transmedial categories, for instance
metalepsis, mise en abyme, the very concept of narrativity itself, the
distinction between histoire and discours, or various kinds of metaization
strategies. As a consequence, current transgeneric and transmedial research
in narrative is primarily concerned with similarities between various genres
or media and especially with the description of phenomena that are
(considered to be) common to both narrative texts and other genres or media.

18 For a corresponding line of argument in the context of the ‘narrative turn’ cf. John Pier
(2010 : 10 et seq.) : « Overall, the narrative turn stems from two factors. First is the ubiquity
of narrative, the fact that narrative informs all aspects of human experience and knowledge
and is thus present in all disciplines, calling for a transdisciplinary approach to narrative
theory that embraces, not only literature and the humanities, but also jurisprudence, medicine,
the social and even the natural sciences. Second is the ‘export’ of narratological concepts and
methods to other literary genres (transgeneric narratology) as well as to non-literary and non-
linguistic narratives (transmedial narratology) […] » (my emphasis).
25
Without doubt, over the past years some groundbreaking work has been
done in attempt of overcoming the one-sidedness of established
languagebased narratological approaches and introducing concepts along with larger
theoretical frameworks that are able to account for the occurrence of certain
19phenomena across arts and media. However, while there are indeed a
number of concepts that can be effectively applied to various arts and media,
there are also cases in which a transfer of theoretic conceptualizations may
be problematic or misleading. This is particularly the case when specificities
of, and differences between, media are ignored or even discarded. Against
this backdrop, Liv Hausken (2004) and Marie-Laure Ryan (2004a) have
pointed out the dangers arising from a ‘media blindness’ which materializes
in « the indiscriminating transfer of concepts designed for the study of the
narratives of a particular medium (usually those of literary fiction) to
narratives of another medium » (ibid. : 34).
One tendency that exemplifies such media blindness and the leveling of
media specificities and differences is that of drama-, theatre- and
film-narratology’s more and more frequently adopting the concept of narratorial
mediation (i.e., ‘Mittelbarkeit’ sensu Stanzel). In so doing, albeit with certain
distinctions to literary texts, a narrative agency is introduced into the models
of dramatic, theatrical and filmic storytelling. I will take this up in more
detail below, but especially in the case of theater it becomes immediately
apparent that conceiving of theatre as narrator-mediated contradicts the very
essence of theatre : its performativity and life (for a more detailed discussion
see Rajewsky 2007).
I would like to take the issue of ‘media blindness’ one step further to
where the specific potential of a transmedial approach, in my view, becomes
apparent in a very telling way.
First of all I would like to emphasize that, complementary to the common
practice of highlighting similarities between different genres and media, a
transmedial approach also allows for the reverse perspective. It can, for one,
be beneficial in advancing our very understanding of individual genres’ and
20media’s specificities and the differences between them. For another, it can
sharpen our consciousness of the advantages to be gained from
differentiating medium with respect to genre (cf. Ryan 2005 : 20, Rajewsky
212007 : 37f.). Finally, a transmedial perspective generally entails a

19 Werner Wolf’s project on ‘Metareference across Media’ deserves a particular mention for
having brought forth important new insights into metaization as a transmedial phenomenon.
Moreover, it has made us aware of the broad variety of metaization practices all over the
media landscape (even in music). See Wolf’s (2009) most comprehensive and up to date
publication on the topic.
20 See again n. 16.
21 Such a differentiation by no means denies the intrinsic constructedness and historical
variability of both genre and media conceptions, nor disregards the significance of the observing

26
heightened medium awareness, also in terms of a medial configuration’s
materiality. This, in turn, is not only relevant for the conceptualization and
analysis of specific transmedial phenomena and their respective
manifestamanifestations. It also allows for new insights into both narrative theory at
large and individual narratological concepts that are commonly considered a
given and hence never challenged. In fact, a media-comparative approach
may even prompt the radical reconsideration of some of narratology’s most
pivotal assumptions by bringing to the fore a crucial fact : that all of
classical narratology’s assumptions, categories and concepts – in brief, its
entire theoretical framework – are closely tied to its traditional focus on
fiction and thus on language-based storytelling. In fact, classical narratology
considers language-based storytelling as the default mode of narrative. This
even holds true for extended conceptions of narrative such as Claude
Bremond’s and Roland Barthes’s in 1960s French narrative theory. Of
course, this is by no means to say that language- or fiction-based approaches
per se are limited. Yet, while seen from the perspective of classical
narratology its decided language orientation is ‘natural’, from a transmedial
perspective it is rather particular. Classical narratology’s unawareness of this
fact is ultimately why certain narratological categories and concepts are
considered ‘universals’. This does not take into account that they are, in fact,
tied to language-based storytelling and to the very specific conditions this
entails.
So this is where traditional narratology’s very own media- or ‘medium’
blindness becomes apparent : in the neglect of its subject-matter’s medial (and
thus also material) disposition ; in that traditional narratology does not
actively perceive literary texts as necessarily and essentially made of
(written) language, and that its entire theoretical framework builds on this
22very medial precondition. This becomes particularly relevant in light of the
transfer of theoretical frameworks, when categories and concepts that
originated in the field of literary studies are transferred to, or adopted in,
other medial contexts. The important point being that, along with its
theoretical concepts, classical narratology’s fundamental ‘blind spot’ is
likewise transferred and, metaphorically speaking, has travelled from
classical into postclassical (and thus also transmedial) narratology.

subject or system. Yet, while generic ‘boundaries’ are conventionally drawn and are therefore
easy to transgress (at least within the limits of the respective medium), boundaries that define
media against each other are always determined by the particular media’s medial disposition.
22 One of the very few exceptions is a 1989 article by Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan : « How the
Model Neglects the Medium. Linguistics, Language, and the Crisis of Narratology ». In this
article Rimmon-Kenan argues that the ‘crisis of narratology’, which, not only according to her
account, was deeply felt during the 1980s, was at least to a certain extent due to an «
exclusion of language » (ibid. : 158), to a neglect of language as a « determining factor of
[narrative] structure » (ibid. : 160).
27
Let me quote as an example from film narratology the decade-long debate
concerning « the issue of narrative voice, or its non-verbal equivalents »
(Burgoyne 1992 : 96), that is to say, the question as to whether or not it is
adequate to assume a superordinate narrative agency in film (see, e.g.,
Chatman 1990 vs. Bordwell 1985). For the increasing number of those who
support such an idea « [t]he general argument [for] favoring a narrator in
film is congruent with the view of many theorists of literature who believe
the concept of the narrator is logically necessary of all fictions » (Burgoyne
1992 : 109, my emphasis). This is interesting and pertinent for the issue at
hand in so far as the argument supporting a presumed narrative agency in
film has obviously been derived from the respective concept in literary
studies. In light of this observation, two basic assumptions of
literaturebased narratology become relevant. Firstly the fact that in classical
narratology narratorial mediation is commonly considered a ‘generic
property of narrative’ (« Gattungsmerkmal der Erzählung », cf. Stanzel
1979/1995 : 15). Secondly, and relatedly, we have the fact that lines of
arguments from classical narratology come to bear that explain the
differentiation between author and narrator as rooted in the fictionality of
literary texts, thus linking such a differentiation to the truth value of
23statements made in fictional narratives. This is whereupon Ryan, for
instance, bases her observation that « [t]he concept of narrator is a logical
necessity of all fictions » (1981 : 519), and this is why it is argued that «
[t]he importance of the narrator to the overall fictional contract resides in the
fact that only the narrator can produce truth-functional discourse within
what is manifestly a fictional construct » (Burgoyne 1992 : 110, my
emphasis).
Of course, proponents of the concept of a narrative agency in film have
not simply adopted the concept of narrator, but keep adapting it for film.
Film studies, for example, do not perceive the narrator in anthropomorphic
terms. The important point to make here is that the adapted notions of the
formerly literary concepts, despite the alterations resulting from the
adaptation process, were nonetheless derived from the basic assumptions of
literary narratology in the first place. Thus, it has so far gone unnoticed, that
upon adopting particular concepts from literary studies, not only these
concepts ‘as such’ are transferred from one medium-related debate to
another, but that already the basic assumptions underlying these concepts
were developed on the basis and within the theoretical mindset of verbal
storytelling. This is the case when Stanzel defines a narrative agency as a
generic property of narrative in so far as that whenever something is
narrated, a narrator is implied ; when Genette talks of « [u]n récit de fiction est

23 In this context one should not disregard the role of actual literary texts in the context of the
development of respective fictional conventions (for more detail cf. Hempfer 1990 : 123).
28
fictivement produit par son narrateur, et effectivement par son auteur (réel) »
(1983 : 96, my emphasis) ; when Prince assumes that « there is at least one
narrator in any narrative » (Prince 1982 : 8, my emphasis), or when Ryan
defines the concept of a narrator as a logical necessity ‘of all fictions’. None
of these examples are, in fact, basic assumptions concerning ‘the act of
narrating’ or ‘narrative’ at large. They are much rather basic assumptions of
language- or literature-based narratology, developed with a specific medial
and material point of reference in mind : (written) verbal storytelling. It
could, of course, still be beneficial to adopt the concept of narrative agency
in film studies. However, what, ought to be investigated first of all is
whether, and/or to which extent, respective basic assumptions of literary
narratology are contingent upon the medial specificity of (written) verbal
24storytelling. Because if they are, the process of transfer would be
unmasked as based on a ‘media blindness’ (sensu Hausken and Ryan).
This brings us back to our point of departure : While providing « an
alternative to the language-based definitions that are common fare in
classical narratology » (Ryan 2005, 4) already challenges a transmedial
investigation of narrative, it seems an even more challenging task to uncover
the very own media blindness of classical narratology. In fact, carrying out
such as task may proof reciprocally advantageous for both transmedial
research and literature-based narratology. Becoming aware of its own media
blindness might in fact advance new insights into the specificities of literary,
language-based modes of storytelling.
Before the background of the above, the performative potential of a
transmedial approach comes to the fore : it is in applying a media-comparative
perspective that ‘blind spots’ of traditional narratology become apparent.
This means that a transmedial perspective which does not build on the
assumption of a default mode of narrative may trigger a ‘feedback effect’
(« effet en retour », Genette 1983 : 49, n. 2). Such an effect can prompt the
reconsideration of one’s own discipline in terms of its theoretical framework
and research issues. This, in turn, may bring to light a variety of
problematics which have hitherto remained unconsidered due to the lack of (media-)
comparative investigations. Adopting a transmedial research perspective does
hence not only allow for investigating phenomena as they appear across
media. It may also provide new ‘entry points’ for considering how these
phenomena have been viewed and dealt with in their original fields of research.
For me as a literary scholar this would mean to start rethinking and
reconsidering several basic assumptions concerning (classical) narratology.
Such an ‘entry point effect’, if you will, was already observed by Edward de

24 The DFG-funded research project « Mediality – Transmediality – Narration. Perspectives of
a Transgeneric and Transmedial Narratology (Film, Theatre, Literature) », directed by Irina
Rajewsky at Freie Universität Berlin, has been undertaking research in this vein.
29
Bono in 1959 and remarked upon by Manfred Jahn : « de Bono, an unjustly
neglected pioneer of the cognitive turn, pointed out that the choice of an
‘entry point’ into a space or system can make all the difference, both in the
perception of a thing or the solution of a problem » (2004, 106). Thus the
‘entry point effect’ correlates which what I have just referred to as the
‘performative potential’ of a transmedial research perspective.
As a last point, I would like to accentuate one further issue of crucial
relevance for the heuristic potential of a transmedial research perspective :
the intrinsic ‘double logic’ of transmedial phenomena, which has as yet not
been aptly acknowledged despite its being at the very core of the matter.
Once more, it is prerequisite in this context to perceive transmediality as
referring to ‘travelling’ phenomena which are not confined to one single
medium but occur across a variety of media. However, the actual
manifestations of these phenomena are always perforce medium-specific,
that is, they are without exception tied to, and contingent upon, their
respective medial dispositions (e.g., as text, film, painting, performance,
etc.). Hence, when talking of transmedial phenomena or categories, we have
to bear in mind the non-existence of a ‘medium-free’ (cf. Ryan 2005 : 11)
form of aisthesis. To repeat, the crucial point of transmedial phenomena is
that from the receiver’s point of view they materialize in similar ways across
media (cf. Wolf 2005/2008 : 253), while their actual realizations
nevertheless remain specific to the respective media. This is why transmedial
phenomena may effectively sharpen our awareness and understanding of
media specificities and differences between them. This is also why they are
particularly apt for heightening our sensitivity regarding fundamentally
onesided presuppositions and shortcomings of received theoretical concepts.
Finally, in the specific context of narratology transmedial phenomena also
aid our understanding as to how one’s thought patterns concerning
narratological matters are profoundly informed by language-based concepts,
categories and approaches.
Closing remarks take us to a notable difference between recent
approaches in transmedial narratology and their various predecessors, which
date back as far as antiquity. Since then, transmedially related discourses –
such as ut pictura poesis, the paragone, Lessing’s Laokoon debate (1766), to
thquote one of the many examples from the 18 century, and similar debates
th thof the 19 and 20 centuries – have been rooted in an agonistic, hierarchical
view on different arts and media. Contrary to this, transmedial narratology
paves the road for a non-hierarchical view of different genres, arts and media
and takes into account the position of the observing subject or system. Such
an approach opens a promising theoretical frame in terms of advancing
transnational and transcultural perspectives. The latter may help us to
develop a keener eye for cultural specificities and differences that bear upon
media and various kinds of related (e.g., representational) conventions. They
may reveal that (or how) the perception of art- and mediascapes might be
30
differently structured depending on the receivers’ respective cultural
backgrounds. From this standpoint, the categories and concepts of transmedial
research (which so far have attached little weight to cultural specificity) are
to be re-examined as contingent upon culturally rooted thought patterns,
conventions of perceptions and discourse traditions. Considering that the
notion of travelling is inherent in transmedial phenomena and concepts, this
always amounts to processes characterized by a transformational dynamics.
The question as to whether and how transmedial phenomena ‘translate’ into,
and ‘re-translate’ from, different (media) cultures – that is to say, how they
carry across media and cultures (translatio) – is hence particularly relevant
for future studies of the complex dynamics of contact-related issues.

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