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Allegories of Immersion: Virtual Narration in Postmodern Fiction

Marie-Laure Ryan
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Vol. 29, No. 2, From Possible Worlds to Virtual Realities: Approaches to Postmodernism (Summer 1995), pp. 262-286
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42946281
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Allegories of Immersion: Virtual Narration in Postmodern Fiction
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Abstract

Developing the optical meaning of the term "virtual" results in a definition of virtual narration as the evocation of a nonactual or temporally remote world as mirrored within either a lower level of reality or a more recent stage of the same world through such a reflecting device as a painting, photograph, movie, television show, novel, or story. The technique is evident in texts by William Gibson, Robbe-Grillet, Borges, Cortázar, and Calvino. While the inherent self-reflexivity of virtual narration suggests a standard postmodern interpretation of antimimetism and a focus on textuality, its tendency to fade into real narration suggests another reading: through this instability, virtual narration contributes to an allegorical reenactment of the reader's immersion in a fictional world.

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