Articulation, the letter, and the spirit in the aesthetics of narrative
Proceedings of the 1st ACM workshop on Story representation, mechanism and context - SRMC '04
A furthered understanding of the aesthetic aspects of narrative is important to both people and machines who wish to author pleasing narratives. This paper gives an account of the aesthetics of narrative employing the triptych of articulation, the letter, and the spirit as a framework for understanding. The rhetoric of the letter and the spirit, with great intellectual precedent, is used in this work to segregate the mundane and habitual aspects of narrative (the letter) from narrative's
... ed, mythical, and aesthetic aspects (the spirit). Articulation, understood as the interplay between the letter and the spirit, has certain aesthetic modes, and these modes and their relationship to connotation, defamiliarization, and myth are discussed. Also central to the aesthetic qualification of articulation is the cultural and cognitive backdrop against which an articulation occurs. This paper will argue that in the culture of our contemporary period, media-driven commodification of narratives has led to the saturation of the cultural narrative space with cliché. If a narrative is to be aesthetic in this environment, it must face the additional challenge of resisting hyperarticulation, as hyperarticulation invites unflattering comparison to known narrative forms and techniques. This paper concludes with a presentation of four strategies which support aesthetic articulation in narratives under the current cultural context -intertextuality, unusual representation, aesthetic signature, and personalization.