Language, Questions & Formulas

Language

Today is a day of transition for this blog. It will from now on be written in English. For about two years I have used this place to develop inch by inch my PhD dissertation project. There have been many stages when things seem to point in one direction, and then onto another, and another and so on. Typical dissertation stuff. The problem is, unless you read Spanish all of that will be… well, in Spanish.

So I thought a good way to relaunch this blog (and on the first of the month!) would be to survey it for all the newcomers the turn to this digital lingua franca will, hopefully, bring.

Questions

My dissertation project was born out of my obsession with reading, readers and narrative, and a handful of questions regarding that as they’re relevant in our time: What human needs and skills have made storytelling so crucial throughout history, so much so that storytelling is itself the subject of much storytelling? What makes storytelling so adaptable to whatever media or technological development is current at a given time? Why/how do we get so involved with stories even in — or because of — the supposedly alienating digital media? From there, the project has grown considerably, so in order not to write a very long post I will try to be mathematically abstract and concise — you can blame my recent rediscovery of math through a python course. The idea is to use it as an index to trace back my steps and, in the next few weeks, post again about previously explored topics. Hopefully some ideas will have changed and developed. while others might have been discarded for good.

Formulas

Very succinctly these are the problems I have encountered along the way and some of the places where I’ve looked for answers:

Problem 1. What happens when we read on a neuronal level, what implications for our life that has.

— reading + mind = (theory of mind + neuron recycling) + (social simulation + empathy)

Problem 2. Why read fiction? what we get out of fiction, and how that has been fictionalized too

— reading + fiction = (Don Quixote + Unamuno + et al) + metafiction +- postmodernism

Problem 3. The way ideas such as “book”, “story”, “social”, have changed through time and most relevantly how that seems to end up as new forms of narrative, and new stories

— history of reading = (book history + [the origin of storytelling + sociality]) ** new ways of telling stories

Problem 4. New ways of telling stories are currently being shaped by the new media through which we access/experience said stories

— reading + digital media = (convergence + intermediality) / (immersive fiction + metafiction)

That’s just the theory. After all, it’s been two years. More details on each of the problems will come soon, as well as the case study and the big methodology of analysis.

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