Prof. Sandro Jung from Fudan University Lectured on Transmediation and Material Uses in Literature


On the morning of March 10, Prof. Sandro Jung from the Department of English Language and Literature, Fudan University, delivered an enlightening academic lecture at the School of International Studies, Zhejiang University.


In the lecture entitled “Transmediation and the Material Uses in Literature: Objects of Reading Recovered”, Prof. Jung introduced the epitext and transmediation phenomenon in English literature from the perspective of literary text illustration. He argued that the objects in literary text illustrations, as extensions of literary works, had literary significance from the very beginning of their production. Using the examples of printed pictures on three groups of objects, namely furniture fabrics, clay pots, and snuff bottles, he expounded on the transformation of media and the change of meaning of literary illustrations on different objects, as well as the social significance of this phenomenon.

Based on James Thomson’s The Seasons, Allan Ramsay’s The Gentle Shepherd, and William Godwin’s Damon and Delia, Prof. Jung explained how the illustrations in the works, when transferred from the text to the copperplate printed furniture fabrics, clay pots, and snuff pots, evolved into more organic and open forms of images, whose meanings were also no longer dependent on people’s prior perceptions. This process illustrates that cross-media visualization is a reinterpretation of meaning that undergoes reconstruction and change. The material properties of fabrics, pots, and snuff bottles, which are frequently circulated and exchanged for domestic use, have elicited more attention to their illustrations as material carriers and to faster and wider dissemination of the moral concepts they imply. Prof. Jung emphasized that cross-media illustrations played an important part in inferences and recalls of literary meaning, which made the related concept of “social text” possible to be redefined. This social text no longer covers the process of meaning-making in a restricted way, but allows the objects in its text to become the main medium that dominates the narrative. These objects shape public perceptions in the process of cross-media communication, thus boasting the far-reaching significance of social practice.

The audience, impressed by Prof. Jung’s rich textual examples and brilliant exposition, discussed in detail with him “the relationship between transmedia studies and literary classics”, “the difficulties of transmedia studies”, “text selection and periodization of illustration studies”, drawing forth various topics worthy of further thought.                    



Photo/Text: ZHAO Jie

Department of English Language and Literature

March 12, 2023

Translated by ZHOU Dandan

Proofread by XU Xueying

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