Chapter published in:Experiencing Fictional Worlds
Edited by Benedict Neurohr and Lizzie Stewart-Shaw
[Linguistic Approaches to Literature 32] 2019
► pp. 157–176
Chapter 9Immersive reading and the unnatural text-worlds of “Dead Fish”
In this chapter I present a Text World Theory analysis of Adam Marek’s emotionally charged dystopian short story, “Dead Fish”, which takes for its focus a possible future world recovering from environmental disaster. Drawing upon naturalistic reader response data in support of my own introspective analysis, I investigate the estranging experience of reading this particular narrative and discuss the readerly process of interpreting its defamiliarising world-building elements. Analytical focus is placed upon the responses of a purpose-built reading group (comprising four postgraduate research students from the University of Sheffield), who compare their conceptualisation of particular entities within the text-world, and reflect upon their understanding of such entities as “unnatural”. Through a combined application of narratological approaches to unnatural narration (Alber and Heinze 2013) and a Text World Theory perspective (Gavins 2007; Werth 1999), I investigate how readers respond to unnatural narration and draw several connections between readerly immersion and the emotional experience of reading unnatural texts.
Keywords: Text World Theory, reader response, dystopian short stories, Adam Marek, unnatural narration, immersion
- 9.2Unnatural text-worlds and “Dead Fish”
- 9.2.1Conceptualising first-person plural referents
- 9.3Reading unnatural minds
- 9.4An ambiguous and indifferent end
- 9.5Comparing emotional reading experiences of “Dead Fish”
Published online: 21 February 2019
Alber, J., Iversen, S., Skov Nielsen, H. and Richardson, B.
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Gerrig, R. J.
2013 Review of The Stone Thrower by Adam Marek. The New Short Review, https://thenewshortreview.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/review-of-the-stone-thrower-by-adam-marek> (17 December 2016).
2014 How Do You like Your Story Endings, Open or Closed? Adam Marek: Short Story Writer 18 May 2014, <http://www.adammarek.co.uk/how-do-you-like-your-story-endings-open-or-closed> (20 September 2016).
2012 The Stone Thrower by Adam Marek. The Literateur 7 October 2012, <http://literateur.com/the-stone-thrower-by-adam-marek> (21 May 2015).
Peplow, D., Swann, J., Trimarco, P. and Whiteley, S.
Rapp, D. N. and Gerrig, R. J.
Swann, J. and Allington, D.
Cited by 5 other publications
Corbitt, Alex, Jon M. Wargo & Clare O’Connor
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 01 april 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.