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alice bell

Dr Alice Bell



My research specialisms are stylistics (including cognitive poetics), narratology (including possible worlds theory), and digital fiction. Throughout my work I develop systematic approaches for the analysis of (mostly digital) texts and investigate ways that digital technologies affect fiction and fictionality.

My teaching reflects my research interests and I teach on a range of modules and supervise postgraduate students across the English programme.

  • About

    I am the Principal Investigator of an AHRC-funded project entitled Reading Digital Fiction which runs from January 2014 to June 2017 (Co-I: Prof Astrid Ensslin, Bangor University). The project has two core aims. First, it aims to introduce more readers to digital fiction and we are organising various public events including workshops, exhibitions, and a writing competition to introduce people to this exciting new form of literature. Secondly, as cognitive stylisticians and narratologists, we are interested in how readers process particular narratological, linguistic, multimodal and interactive features in digital fiction including second-person narration and literary hyperlinks. We are therefore conducting several reader-response studies to collect data from readers in order to understand how digital literary reading works cognitively.

    I also research 'unnatural narratology' which is an area of narrative theory that seeks to develop methods for texts that present physically or logically impossible scenarios or events. Drawing on my primary interest in digital fiction, I explore ways in which a digital context can alter the way in which unnatural elements operate - particularly second-person narration, narrative contradiction, and metalepsis. I am currently working on a book entitled Digital Fiction and Unnatural Narrative (co-authored with Astrid Ensslin).

    Stylistics, narrative theory, digital literature, possible worlds theory, fiction and ontology

  • Teaching

    Department Of Humanities

    Development and Society

    Reading Digital Fiction


    BA English, BA English Language, BA Creative Writing, MA by Research

    • Language and Literature
    • Language and the Internet
    • Experimental Writing
    • Describing Language

  • Research

    • Art and Design Research Centre, Humanities Research Centre

    Reading Digital Fiction (2014-2017) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

    WALLPAPER funded by Sheffield Hallam University and Arts Council, England.

    External Funding

    June 2014: £243,159 from AHRC Research Grant scheme as PI for ‘Reading Digital Fiction’. Co-I: Prof Astrid Ensslin, Bangor (Ref: AH/K004174/1)

    May 2010: £740 from the British Academy Small Research Grant scheme as PI for 'Metalepsis and Unnatural Narratology' with Dr Jan Alber (Univ. of Freiburg) (Ref: SG100637).

    March 2008: £15,500 from The Leverhulme Trust Academic Collaboration scheme as PI for ‘Digital Fiction International Network’. CI: Prof Astrid Ensslin, Bangor (Ref: F/00455/E).

  • Publications

    BELL, Alice (2016). Interactional Metalepsis and Unnatural Narratology. Narrative, 24 (3). (In Press)

    BELL, Alice (2016). ‘I felt like I’d stepped out of a different reality’: possible worlds theory, metalepsis and digital fiction. In: GAVINS, Joanna and LAHEY, Ernestine, (eds.) World Building: Discourse in the Mind. Advances in stylistics . Bloomsbury, 15-32.

    BELL, Alice, ENSSLIN, Astrid and RUSTAD, Hans Kristian, eds. (2014). Analyzing digital fiction. Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Stylistics, 5 . New York, Routledge.

    BELL, Alice, ENSSLIN, Astrid and RUSTAD, Hans (2014). From theorizing to analyzing digital fiction. In: BELL, Alice, ENSSLIN, Astrid and RUSTAD, Hans Kristian, (eds.) Analyzing digital fiction. Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Stylistics (5). New York, Routledge, 3-17.

    BELL, Alice (2014). Media-specific metalepsis in 10:01. In: BELL, Alice, ENSSLIN, Astrid and RUSTAD, Hans Kristian, (eds.) Analyzing digital fiction. Routledge Studies in Rhetoric and Stylistics (5). New York, Routledge, 21-38.

    BELL, Alice (2014). Schema theory, hypertext fiction and links. Style, 48 (2), 140-161.

    BELL, Alice (2013). Unnatural narration in hypertext fiction. In: ALBER, Jan, SKOV NEILSON, Henkrik and RICHARDSON, Brian, (eds.) A poetics of unnatural narrative. Ohio State University Press, 185-198.

    ENSSLIN, Astrid and BELL, Alice (2012). "Click = Kill": textual you in ludic digital fiction. Storyworlds, 4, 49-73.

    BELL, Alice and ALBER, Jan (2012). Ontological Metalepsis and Unnatural Narratology. Journal of Narrative Theory, 42 (2), 166-192.

    BELL, Alice and ENSSLIN, Astrid (2011). "I know what it was. You know what it was": Second-person narration in hypertext fiction. Narrative, 19 (3), 311-329.

    BELL, Alice (2011). Ontological boundaries and conceptual leaps : the significance of possible worlds for hypertext fiction (and beyond). In: PAGE, Ruth and THOMAS, Bronwen, (eds.) New narratives : stories and storytelling in the digital age. Frontiers of narrative series . University of Nebraska Press, 63-82.

    BELL, Alice, ENSSLIN, Astrid, CICCORICCO, David, RUSTAD, Hans, LACCETTI, Jess and PRESSMAN, Jessica (2010). A [S]creed for digital fiction. electronic book review.

    BELL, Alice (2010). The possible worlds of hypertext fiction. Palgrave Macmillan.

    BELL, A. (2007). "Do you want to hear about it?" Exploring possible worlds in Michael Joyce's Hyperfiction, afternoon, a story. In: STOCKWELL, P. and LAMBROU, M., (eds.) Contemporary stylistics. Continuum, 43-55.

    ENSSLIN, Astrid and BELL, Alice (2007). New perspectives on digital literature: criticism and analysis. dichtung-digital.

  • Other activities

    Member of the AHRC peer review college.

  • Post graduate supervision

    Alternate Realties: Possible Worlds Theory and Counterfactual Historical Fiction

    Drawing out Language: The Destabilisation of Information Overload through Conceptual Writing

  • Media

    Alice is interested in how digital technology can enhance and evolve literature. She studies literature written specifically for digital media, which often combine text with images, film, and sound. As a literary-linguist, Alice is interested in how language works in digital fiction. She is also interested in how readers process these texts cognitively.

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