Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
On the Boundaries of Watchmen: Paratextual Narratives across Media
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9259-2917
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is an intervention into the ongoing revisions of Gerard Genette’s concept of paratexts. Increasingly used in discussions of artifacts other than the literary novels that were Genette’s object of attention, the concept of paratexts has given rise to intense debates regarding the nature and functions of paratextual elements across media. One area of contestation is the relation of paratext to narrative. While Genette’s original paradigm complicates the possibility of a narrative paratext, I show that the liminal zones usually occupied by paratexts—what I call paratextual space—are commonly used for narrative purposes, particularly as popular narratives extend across media. In this dissertation, I analyze the different embodiments of Watchmen with a focus on such a use of paratextual spaces. I argue that studies of narratives presented in these spaces—what I refer to as paratextual narratives—will not only shed light on these narrative strategies, but also give new insights into how popular narratives extend across new media platforms.

My first analytical chapter concerns the material that frames the Watchmen graphic narrative, and its roots in the media specific history and paratextual phenomenon known as lettercols. I show how this paratextual space was repurposed in the creation of Watchmen to present narrative material that worked to establish and augment the history of the storyworld and the characters presented in the graphic narrative of the Watchmen comics. I argue that the functions of these materials are influenced by the tradition established by the lettercols and the paratextual spaces in which they are situated. In my second analytical chapter I turn to the Watchmen adaptation, focusing in particular on the digital narratives framing the cinematic premiere of the film. I show how the paratextual nature of these materials occluded their narrative functions, causing them to be excluded from what is regarded the adaptation of Watchmen. I argue that the materials framing the Watchmen film are paratextual narratives that should be seen as integral parts of the Watchmen adaptation. In my conclusion I address the Watchmen prequel-series Before Watchmen and raise questions regarding how paratextual narratives function for media franchising.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Uppsala University, Department of English , 2015. , 110 p.
Keyword [en]
Paratexts, Watchmen, comics, graphic novels, transmedia storytelling, media franchising, new media, adaptation.
National Category
General Literature Studies Media Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-266867ISBN: 9789150624878OAI: diva2:869023
2015-11-13, 7-0043, Thunbergsvägen 3H, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-11-18 Created: 2015-11-12 Last updated: 2016-01-12Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(882 kB)107 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 882 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Waites, Peter
By organisation
Department of English
General Literature StudiesMedia Studies

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 107 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 587 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link