A recent review of the book Narrative Complexity: Cognition, Embodiment, Evolution (Grishakova and Poulaki -eds.-, 2019), published by Roy Sommer at the journal Diegesis 9.2, draw also the attention about our colleague´s chapter Noan Knoller, which we reproduce here since can be considered as a small validation of some premises at INDCOR project:
Noam Knoller (“Complexity and the Userly Text”) ventures on “Habermasian public-sphere territory” (p. 99), raising a number of important questions: How can events of considerable complexity be narrated? How, given that reading habits have changed “to the point that the public’s capacity to deeply engage with any story needs to be reappraised” (p. 99), can we make sense of a hypercomplex, information-intensive environment? Are close reading and deep attention still an option? Knoller suggests that while long narratives mirror the complexity they seek to understand, hypercomplexity calls for cognitive reduction (cf. p. 104): we need digital artefacts to serve as complex semiotic scaffolds for meaning production (cf. p. 106).
Modifying Roland Barthes’ notion of the readerly text, he proposes to think of userly texts as “a form of reception that proceeds through embodied-cognitive performance” (p. 107). The form of the userly text, he further argues, is organized around two constructs, an encoded storyworld and an interaction model. To a reader unacquainted with the kind of digital narrative he has in mind, Knoller’s vision of a userly text appears slightly utopian, promising solutions to all problems. But as we do need solutions to all the pressing problems he mentions, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If people don’t download and read policy papers by leading think tanks (cf. p. 103), we need to explore other avenues.
Read the full review:
Sommer, Roy: “Beehive Narratology? Why Narrative Research should not Ignore Complexity Theory [Review of: Marina Grishakova / Maria Poulaki (eds.): Narrative Complexity. Cognition, Embodiment, Evolution. Lincoln, NE 2019].” In: DIEGESIS. Interdisciplinary E-Journal for Narrative Research / Interdisziplinäres E-Journal für Erzählforschung 9.2 (2020). 148-157.