Francis Butterworth-Parr

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Research title: Video Games as Metaphor in the Contemporary Novel: 1984 to Writing Now

Research Summary

Francis’ research uncovers and activates video game metaphors as they begin to populate the contemporary novel from the 1980s onward. This inverts the usual discourse that serves the faultline between literary and game studies by seeking to understand how video gaming as mode of experience, cultural artefact and idea has transformed the way in which novelists represent contemporary life – in opposition to how games have co-opted the literary. In agreement with Roger Caillois’ argument that ‘a civilization and its content may be characterized by its games’, Francis’ research looks to literature’s deployment of techno-ludic materials, cultures and ideas to position the video game as a vital medium through which to understand late 20th-21st century civilization. In doing so, Francis will analyse the relationship between novels and video games, investigating to what extent the novel succeeds when representing a new, successful and controversial technology and explore what literary resources the novel uses when it deploys the video game metaphorically.

Francis’ research interests include the following fields:

- Game studies (particularly in relation to contemporary literary culture)

- Queer contemporary fiction

- New media theory and practice (particularly in relation to participatory culture and alternate reality games)

- Disability theory

- Cyberpunk literature and cultures

- Contemporary approaches to periodisation and canonisation (particularly in relation to metamodernism)

- Contemporary aesthetic movements (particularly in relation to the aesthetics of failure and process)


Grants & Awards

SGSAH: 11/12/2018, £2,300, Cohort Development Fund symposium: Ludic Literature: The Converging Interests of Writing, Games and Play



Additional Information

Organisational Committees

SGSAH Cohort Development Fund: Ludic Literature: The Converging Interests of Writing, Games and Play (date TBD)