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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Videogames and Literature: Achieving Interdisciplinarity

15th November 2016, 13:00 to 14:00, Birley Room, Hatfield College, Dr Alistair Brown

Part of the DH Durham and the Institute of Advanced Research Computing lunchtime seminar series on Digital Humanities.

On the face of it, the ways video games and literature tell stories may seem to be very different: video games are multimedia and interactive works, whereas literature is largely text based and plotted in a way that is predefined by an author. Nevertheless, in the 1990s literary scholars were among the first to incorporate game studies within the university context, colonising games on behalf of the discipline of English. Like all colonisations, though, the trading partnership was one-sided; early English scholars were keen to show what they could do for games, but less interested in what games could do for literary scholarship. While the digital humanities in general has seen digital practices radically reshape the way the humanities are practiced, an archaeology of literature and game studies shows little attempt to reflect on how the study of video games might teach us to think differently about traditional literature itself. This talk will illustrate how literary scholars can modify their practices and methodologies, treating interdisciplinarity and intermediality as a two-way exchange of knowledge and ideas between video games and literature. In particular, it will show how game theory can be applied back to literature, and will demonstrate how the development of game adaptations of literary texts could provide a means of literary critique.

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