Graduate colloquium of the Département des littératures de langue française (Montreal):

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Emmanuelle Lescouet will speak about Notifictions and chat stories qu during the colloquium Échange(s)
on March 16, 2022

The pandemic has brought about a sudden and profound reconfiguration of the ways in which exchanges take place: commercial production and transportation chains have been halted or slowed around the world, containment measures have suddenly interrupted sociability, and formal and informal face-to-face discussions have been replaced by virtual meetings. Having, like many, become aware of the fragility of bonds that many took for granted, the representative members of the graduate programs of the Department of French Literature at UdeM invite you to reflect around the notion of exchange - to the discourses that summon or problematize it, to its representations, modalities, and stakes - for the duration of a colloquium organized at the department.

Emmanuelle Lescouët will present "Texting and chatting: the digital epistolary"

Digital literacies have adopted a wide variety of forms, many of which are mimetic of existing utilitarian interfaces: GPS, social network profile, photo gallery, etc. The democratization of smartphones and, with them, messaging and chat interfaces has enabled a dictionary of common gestures and features to be learned (Citton 2012). For example, responding to notifications, swiping to turn a page, tapping to validate or invalidate a choice, to name only the best known.

If epistolary fictions are not uncommon throughout the history of literature, neither are they uncommon in digital: the protagonists exchanging with each other and allowing clear narratives, themselves based on known mechanics. Moreover, this allows the incarnation of a protagonist without disrupting the diegesis, and thus the reader's investment through multiple-choice navigations (Aarseth 1997).

Thus, with the advent of digital literature and reading devices, literary forms based on the exchange of emails, texts, or chat bot have emerged. Chatstories, or fictions based on messaging interfaces and building more or less dense narrative trees are numerous; some going as far as temporalizing the reading (notifiction), making real time and diegetic time coincide (Lescouet 2021).

These exchanges between the (fictional) protagonists and the reader transform the epistolary relationship (Bouchardon 2012), perpetuating and extending the historical forms of the genre into contemporary media (Vitali-Rosati 2020; Galloway 2012).

In this presentation, I will explore the implications of such literary forms: here, the reader's immersion and investment in the text through the convened reading gestures. The use of familiar interfaces on intimate reading media inscribes fiction in the digital presence of the individual (Ryan 2015; Souchier et al. 2019), through gestures of intimacy still in use in extradiegetic practices, it is these back and forth between diegesis and everyday life that will be studied in a theory of hyperconnection (Agostini-Marchese 2020).

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