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    “Lizzie’s Story Felt Like Home:” Meaning-Making and Narratively-Constructed Digital Intimacy in Literary Web Series

    Dabek, Meredith (2019) “Lizzie’s Story Felt Like Home:” Meaning-Making and Narratively-Constructed Digital Intimacy in Literary Web Series. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    This thesis explores readers’ experiences with a genre of digital narratives known as literary (inspired) web series. These narratives present updated, digital retellings of classic literature from the Western canon and arise from the rapid development of the convergent media environment and the evolution of social media platforms. Literary web series draw on a variety of storytelling methods to create interactive, immersive, and emotionally resonant narrative experiences for readers. As hybrid media-literary artefacts, these narratives leverage the affordances of social media platforms to encourage reader participation and interaction, generate forms of narrative immersion to convey an authentic and realistic story, and capitalise on the literary resonance of their source texts to foster the development of an engaged community of readers. These methods of meaning-making help create intimate narrative experiences that provide readers with a significant and lasting connection to the text. Using the literary web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD), as a case study, this thesis explores LBD’s use of the sociotechnical affordances of YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr; LBD’s creation of narrative immersion for its readers; and the literary resonance of LBD’s source material, Pride and Prejudice. Results from a mixed-methods online survey of LBD readers and follow-up semistructured interviews with select respondents reveal that readers’ experiences with LBD were deeply meaningful and contributed to readers feeling a sense of intimate connection with the narrative and other readers. Consequently, this thesis will propose that literary web series like LBD can help drive the formation of what I have labelled “narratively-constructed digital intimacy,” an affective feeling stemming from the methods of meaning-making in LBD as well as mediated and narrative intimacies, and para-social interactions. Subsequently, reader experiences of literary web series that include narratively-constructed digital intimacy can provide readers with a “a long-lasting and ineffable sense of significance” (Stockwell, 2009a).

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Lizzie’s Story; Meaning-Making; Narratively-Constructed; Digital Intimacy; Literary; Web Series;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > Media Studies
    Item ID: 13641
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2020 11:11
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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