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Systems of fear : a transmedia approach of horror in literature and video games

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The aim of this thesis is to study the stakes and strategies behind the apparition of fear in novels and video games. Through a comparative approach, I intend to theorize the bridging of these mediums and the paradigms structuring scary fictions. At the core of this work lie the ability of video games and literature to create uncertainty and strangeness from a rigorous code (be it textual, digital or game rules) during the interaction with the reader/gamer and the conflicting interdependence between mimesis (as a shaping of reality) and phantasia (as a resurgence of a reality that defies reason).As fear’s catalyst, the monster is at the heart of my formal analysis. The synthesis of a large corpus allows for an identification of four archetypes from which the various manifestations of monstrosity spread: the barbarian, the gorgon, the phantom and the chimera. These figures personify the dark corners of western culture. The barbarian embodies the confrontation with an alien whom invades a familiar environment as well as the violent and chaotic base upon which rests civilization. The gorgon represents the radical otherness, fascinating and terrifying. To go near it is to venture out of the world and to run the risk of being contaminated by the monster, becoming unable to go back home. The phantom conveys the stakes of the haunting, of an undead past that is still part of the present. As the baring of a tearing in time continuity, it is to be reintegrated through the solving of the enigma it poses. Ultimately, the chimera is the one who transgresses categories. With its numerous faces, it defies the rational organisation of reality. Finally, a study of the author’s figure, of the adaptation process and of the fictional worlds extensions offers an outlook on the mobility of monsters and their capacity to cross borders, whether they are creative intents, mediatic frames of worlds of fiction.These conclusions are based on a dialogue between literary works and video games selected in a diverse corpus that aims to merge analytical thoroughness and an encompassing vision.

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