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  4. Dr Alison Gibbons
Alison Gibbons

Dr Alison Gibbons BA (Hons), MA, PGcertHE, PhD

Reader in Contemporary Stylistics


Alison's research explores innovative, contemporary narratives using a cognitive stylistic approach which also, at times, employs empirical reception data from real-readers or participants. Alison’s current research focuses on metamodernism and metamodernist fiction, contemporary autofiction, and fiction on and of the Arab Spring.

  • About

    Alison is the author of Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature (Routledge 2012, pbk 2014, Chinese Trans. forthcoming) and editor of Mark Z. Danielewski (Manchester University Press 2011, pbk 2015; with Joe Bray), the Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (Routledge 2012, pbk 2014; with Joe Bray and Brian McHale), Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, and Depth after Postmodernism (Rowman & Littlefield International 2017; with Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen) and Pronouns in Literature: Perspectives and Positions in Language (Palgrave 2018; with Andrea Macrae). She has also published widely in edited collections and peer-reviewed journals including Ariel, Contemporary Fiction, Multimodal Communication, Narrative, and Studia Neophilologica amongst others.

    ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8912-9350

    SCOPUS ID: 56444874100

    Specialist areas of interest

    Cognitive Stylistics and Cognitive Poetics
    Contemporary Fiction
    Arab Spring Fiction

  • Teaching

    Subject area

    English Language and Literature


    BA English
    BA English Literature
    BA English Language


    I teach across linguistics, stylistics, literature, and creative writing on the following modules

    • Reading and the Mind
    • Language and Style
    • Contemporary Fiction
    • Experimental Writing
    • Describing Language
    • Language Dissertation

  • Research

    I am currently writing my second monograph, which has the working title Metamodernist Fiction: The Style and Culture of the Contemporary Novel.

  • Publications


    GIBBONS, Alison (2012) Multimodality, Cognition, and Experimental Literature, London; New York: Routledge.
    (2014; paperback) (November 2016; Chinese translation)

    Co-authored books

    GIBBONS, Alison, WHITELEY, Sara. (2018) Contemporary Stylistics: Language, Cognition, Interpretation, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

    Edited volumes

    BELL, Alice, BROWSE, Sam, GIBBONS, Alison, PEPLOW, David. (eds) (forthcoming) Style and Response: Minds, Media, Methods, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    GIBBONS, Alison, MACRAE, Andrea. (eds) (2018) Pronouns in Literature: Positions and Perspectives in Language, Palgrave Macmillan.

    VAN DEN AKKER, Robin, GIBBONS, Alison, VERMEULEN, Timotheus. (eds) (2017) Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, Depth, Rowman & Littlefield International.

    BRAY, Joe, GIBBONS, Alison and McHALE, Brian. (eds) (2012) Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature, London; New York: Routledge. (2014; paperback)

    BRAY, Joe and GIBBONS, Alison (eds) (2011) Mark Z. Danielewski, Manchester: Manchester University Press. (2015; paperback)

    Journal articles

    BROWSE, Sam (2017). Between truth, sincerity, and satire: Post-truth politics and the rhetoric of sincerity. In: VAN DEN AKKER, Robin, GIBBONS, Alison and VERMEULEN, Timothy, (eds.) Metamodernism : Historicity, Affect and Depth after Postmodernism. New York, Rowman and Littlefield, 167-182.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2017). Reading S across media: transmedia storyworlds, multimodal fiction, and real readers. Narrative, 25 (3), 321-341.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2016). 'I haven't seen you since (a specific date, a time, the weather)': Global identity and the reinscription of subjectivity in Brian Castro's Shanghai Dancing. Ariel : A Review of International English Literature, 47 (1-2), 223-251.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2016). Multimodality, Cognitive Poetics, and Genre: Reading Grady Hendrix’s novel Horrorstör. Multimodal communication, 5 (1), 15-29.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2015) ‘An Interview with Adam Thirlwell’, Contemporary Literature 55(4): 611-634.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2015) ‘ “Take that you intellectuals” and “KaPOW!”: Adam Thirlwell and the Metamodernist Future of Style’, Studia Neophilologica 87(Supp 1): 29-43.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2014) ‘Tension, Style and the Modern Psyche: A Stylistic Analysis of Philip Zimmermann’s High Tension’, The Blue Notebook: Journal for Artists’ Books 8(2): 6-13.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2013) ‘Multimodal Metaphors in Contemporary Experimental Literature’, Metaphor in the Social World 3(2): 180-198.

    Gibbons, A. (2012) ‘ “You’ve never experienced a novel like this”: Time and Interaction when reading TOC’, Electronic Book Review, special festschrift edition on Steve Tomasula. Online: http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/fictionspresent/linear

    GIBBONS, Alison (2008) ‘Multimodal literature ‘moves’ us: dynamic movement and embodiment in VAS: An Opera In Flatland’, HERMES 41: 107-124.

    Chapters in books

    GIBBONS, Alison (2018) ‘Autonarration, ‘I’, and odd address in Ben Lerner’s Autofictional Novel 10.04’, in GIBBONS, Alison, MACRAE, Andrea. (eds) Pronouns in Literature, Palgrave Macmillan, pp.75-96.

    GIBBONS, Alison. (2017) ‘Contemporary Autofiction and Metamodern Affect’ in VAN DER AKKER, Ramon, GIBBONS, Alison, VERMEULEN, Timotheus. (eds) Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, and Depth after Postmodernism, London; New York: Rowman & Littlefield International, pp.117-130.

    GIBBONS, Alison. (2017) ‘Metamodern Affect’ in VAN DER AKKER, Ramon, GIBBONS, Alison, VERMEULEN, Timotheus. (eds) Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect, and Depth after Postmodernism, London; New York: Rowman & Littlefield International, pp.117-130.

    GIBBONS, Alison. (2017) ‘ “Take that you intellectuals” and “KaPOW!”: Adam Thirlwell and the Metamodernist Future of Style’, in FJELLESTAD, Danuta, WATSON, David. (eds) The Futures of the Present: New Directions in (American) Literature, London; New York: Routledge, pp.29-43.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2016) ‘Building Hollywood in Paddington: Text World Theory, immersive theatre, and Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man’, in Gavins, J. and Lahey, E. (eds) World Building: Discourse in the Mind, Bloomsbury. pp.71-89

    GIBBONS, Alison (2015) ‘Creativity and Multimodal Literature, in Jones, R. H. (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Language and Creativity, London; New York: Routledge, pp. 293-306.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2014) ‘Multimodality in Literature: An analysis of Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease’ ’, in Norris, S. and Maier, C. D. (eds) Interactions, Images, and Texts: A Reader in Multimodality, Berlin; New York: Mouton De Gruyter, pp.369-375.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2014) ‘Fictionality and Ontology’, in Stockwell, P. and Whiteley, S. (eds) The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.410-425.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2012) ‘Multimodal Literature and Experimentation’, in Bray, J., Gibbons, A. and McHale, B. (eds) Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature. London; New York: Routledge, pp.420-434.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2012) ‘Altermodernist Fiction’, in Bray, J., Gibbons, A. and McHale, B. (eds) Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature. London; New York: Routledge, pp.238-252.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2012) ‘ “You were there”: The allways ontologies of Only Revolutions’, in Pöhlman, S. (ed.) Revolutionary Leaves: The Fiction of Mark Z. Danielewski, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp.167-182.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2011) ‘This is not for you’, in Bray, J. and Gibbons, A. (eds) Mark Z. Danielewski. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp.17-32.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2010) ‘Narrative worlds and multimodal figures in House of Leaves: “-find your own words; I have no more” ’, in Grishakova, M. and Ryan, M-L. (eds) Intermediality and Storytelling, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp.285-311.

    GIBBONS, Alison (2009) ‘ “I contain multitudes": Narrative multimodality and the book that bleeds', in Page, R. (ed.) New Perspectives on Narrative and Multimodality. London; New York: Routledge, pp.99-114.

  • Other activities

    2013-2017: External Examiner for the MA in English Studies (online), University of Sheffield
    2011-2017: Secretary, International Association of Literary Semantics

  • Postgraduate supervision

    I welcome applications from research students interested in studying in the fields of cognitive poetics and stylistics, multimodality studies, and contemporary fiction.

    I have previously acted as first supervisor on the following titled projects

    Reading Technologies, Literary Innovation, and a New Fiction

  • Media

    Alison’s research focuses on contemporary narrative experiences, both in terms of form and content. She is interested in the composition of contemporary texts, such as the way in which they are written, the potential combination of word and image, and the medium through which they are delivered. As a result, Alison is an expert on contemporary visual fiction and innovative narrative forms such as mobile narratives and immersive theatre. Connected to this, Alison researches how readers and users process and engage with contemporary forms of fiction. Alison is also interested in how we define the contemporary moment as a cultural sensibility beyond the postmodern (eg metamodernism).

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