Emily Joy Bembeneck, The Princess is in Another Castle: Multi-Linear Stories in Oral Epic and Video Games. Ph.D. diss. U of Michigan, 2013.
Aquí el Abstract:
My dissertation entitled The Princess Is in Another Castle: Multi-Linear Story Systems in Greek Epic and Video Games is an interdisciplinary investigation at the crux of two scholarly debates in classics and digital media studies. In this study, I offer an understanding of narrative that can be applied across media and across disciplines, reaching from the traditional practice of Classics to the new and developing study of games. With a perspective that incorporates both the past and the present, I present a theoretical model of story that provides new insight into the way we construct narratives and find meaning within them. My study finds the common thread between oral and game narratives by investigating and comparing their story structures and authorial processes. Bards and players do not fully create new stories, but neither do they only take pre-made stories and adjust them. Rather, they take pieces of narrative, scenes here and actors there, and combine them into a new linear sequence. Narratives of this kind, those telling a single story through many possibilities, are multi-linear narratives. In the Iliad, we hear of different histories of Achilles’ education, we see hints of other possible happenings at Troy, and we see familiar yet different events in the traditional tale. In games, players are able to choose different paths for their characters, experiencing familiar events but with different results and different actors. Richer meaning and more developed characters arise in the contrast and interplay between the two (or more) tellings. A multi-linear understanding of story as a system variably built from interchangeable narrative pieces allows us to see that meaning and interpretation of these stories is highly dependent on the audience’s awareness of other possible story paths. It takes many encounters with the story to fully understand all its possibilities and turns, not only because of its many possible interpretations, but because the story has many possible linear sequences within it. Through a multi-linear understanding of narrative, we can see that traditional notions of narrative construction are only part of the story, one dependent on audience members as co-authors of unique narrative experiences.