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5 The Relevance of Mediality and Intermediality to Academic Studies of English Literature [2008]

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Chapter Summary

‘Mediality’ and ‘intermediality’ have become key concepts in the study of (English) literature. The present contribution addresses problems that have arisen in the wake of the ‘(inter)medial turn’ including the question of whether this ‘turn’ ought to be welcomed in the first place. The problems discussed refer to the definition of ‘medium’ and ‘intermediality’, to increased demands on scholarly as well as student competence, and to the highly important question of whether the new agenda will overburden philological disciplines with ‘alien’ matter. It will be argued that in spite of the fact that literary studies ought not simply turn into media studies, mediality and intermediality have become highly relevant issues for both teaching and researching literature: literature is itself a medium that has not only influenced other media but has, in turn, been influenced and also transmitted by a plurality of media, so that the study of (inter)mediality is actually the study of an essential aspect of literature as such. The final part of the contribution explores ways of integrating mediality and intermediality into literary studies. In this context a typology of relevant intermedial forms is presented, and some possibilities of integrating medial concerns into existing literary theories, notably narratology, are offered. 



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