The essay tackles some of the specific functions and effects of paratext in fan fiction. Taking as a reference corpus the Pride and Prejudice fandom in the website FanFiction.net, the essay especially focuses on the peritext (everything that is located within the borders of the fan fiction website), considered in terms of a “metadata wall”, that is, a set of thresholds, made up of paratextual signals working as classifying, identifying and especially searching categories in the net of derivative texts that constitute the fan fiction archive. The analysis goes into the detail of such paratextual signals in order to emphasize the huge amount of information the reader acquires prior to any reading of the story itself, and the resulting singular dialectics between suspense and predictability which is typical of fan fiction. Bringing the argument one step further, the essay then proposes a hierarchization of the paratextual signals, discussing the importance (and the complexity) of genre issues, rating, and pairing within the fan environment, drawing on works by Anne Kustritz, Catherine Driscoll, and Elizabeth Woledge. Finally, the analysis shifts to two other major paratextual elements, Author/ Notes and readers’ comments, connecting them to, on the one hand, the serialized character of fan fiction, the problem of gaining reader attention and keeping it over time, and, on the other, again to the dialectics between uncertainty and foreknowledge. On the whole, everything points to the capital though multifaceted role played by paratext in the writing/reading experience of fan fiction.

Around the Metadata Wall. Some Functions and Effects of Paratext in Fan Fiction

Donata Meneghelli
2019

Abstract

The essay tackles some of the specific functions and effects of paratext in fan fiction. Taking as a reference corpus the Pride and Prejudice fandom in the website FanFiction.net, the essay especially focuses on the peritext (everything that is located within the borders of the fan fiction website), considered in terms of a “metadata wall”, that is, a set of thresholds, made up of paratextual signals working as classifying, identifying and especially searching categories in the net of derivative texts that constitute the fan fiction archive. The analysis goes into the detail of such paratextual signals in order to emphasize the huge amount of information the reader acquires prior to any reading of the story itself, and the resulting singular dialectics between suspense and predictability which is typical of fan fiction. Bringing the argument one step further, the essay then proposes a hierarchization of the paratextual signals, discussing the importance (and the complexity) of genre issues, rating, and pairing within the fan environment, drawing on works by Anne Kustritz, Catherine Driscoll, and Elizabeth Woledge. Finally, the analysis shifts to two other major paratextual elements, Author/ Notes and readers’ comments, connecting them to, on the one hand, the serialized character of fan fiction, the problem of gaining reader attention and keeping it over time, and, on the other, again to the dialectics between uncertainty and foreknowledge. On the whole, everything points to the capital though multifaceted role played by paratext in the writing/reading experience of fan fiction.
Donata Meneghelli
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/709689
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