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A graphical approach to the story universe of The Journey to the West
Barbara Wall (University of Copenhagen)
Transmedia storytelling is often promoted as the future of storytelling. By Henry Jenkins’ definition of transmedia storytelling, though, we can also find transmedia stories in the past. Taking The Journey to the West as a case study, I show how it is a transmedia story that started to unfold hundreds of years ago. While The Journey is conventionally identified with a Chinese novel, most people are familiar with The Journey universe through films, comics, or computer games. Although Jenkins argues that transmedia stories are too broad to be grasped, I suggest that by approaching them as what Roland Barthes calls dynamic texts we can develop tools for comprehension and analysis. In this study I demonstrate how such a tool might work by applying Barthes’ concept to Korean variations of The Journey, and in particular by using tree and bubble diagrams to create a visual map of the story’s elements.
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