Characters in Fictional Worlds: Understanding Imaginary by Jens Eder, Fotis Jannidis, Ralf Schneider (Hg.)

By Jens Eder, Fotis Jannidis, Ralf Schneider (Hg.)

Even supposing fictional characters have lengthy ruled the reception of literature, motion pictures, tv courses, comics, and different media items, just recently have they all started to draw their due awareness in literary and media idea. The e-book systematically surveys today´s varied and every now and then conflicting theoretical views on fictional personality, spanning study on issues corresponding to the diversities among fictional characters and genuine individuals, the ontological prestige of characters, the concepts in their illustration and characterization, the psychology in their reception, in addition to their particular types and constellations in - and throughout - diverse media, from the publication to the net.

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Depending on the quality and quantity of the information on the character presented in the text on the one hand, and the availability of knowledge structures of the recipient on the other, the mental model construction can proceed in either of two ways: A topdown process occurs in the application of a category to a character, by slotting the information given in the text into this category, while a bottom-up process results from the successive integration of information _____________ 83 See Sperber / Wilson: Relevance.

G. Chatman: Story. Characters in Fictional Worlds: An Introduction 31 properties tend to be character traits, as for example in ›he was shy and anxious‹. 74 This dimension of the term ›characterisation‹ includes statements about the outer appearance of a character. These can be rather unspecific – ›his beauty attracted men and women alike‹ – and perhaps in some way related to character traits, but they can also refer to certain specific physical markers, such as a high forehead. , ›he lived a very secluded life‹, ›his flat was furnished in a plain style‹, ›the family doctor was his only friend‹.

Values, aims, wishes, hopes and fears therefore propel the action of the hero, and they invite a psychological reading of the character at the same time. Most modern narratives deal with problems that motivate the characters’ actions. 58 Motivation is a precondition also in other forms of narration: Episodic narratives deal with the momentary problems of several characters; character studies focus on unconscious needs of persons on a quest, and even characters who do not even try to fulfill their wishes produce actions on a small scale to which we ascribe motivation.

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