Narrative Immersion: Some Linguistic and Narratological Aspects

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A well-known psychological effect triggered by narrative texts is the reader’s (or listener’s) experience of being mentally drawn into the storyworld, a feeling which is often referred to as immersion. The intensity of the experience of being immersed is not only dependent on various cognitive and emotional propensities of the immersed subject but also determined by particular features of the narrative text. The more a text enables the reader to construct an embodied simulation of the described situation, the more intense the immersive experience will be. Linguistic phenomena relevant to immersion are tense-aspect, modality, deixis, discourse markers, and subjective-evaluative vocabulary. Narrative techniques contributing to immersion include descriptions rich in sensorimotor information, scenic spatial and temporal organization, character focalization, narratorial covertness, and the creation of empathy and suspense. This chapter explores the wide range of linguistic and narratological features brought into play to effect an immersive experience, discussing a number of immersive (and non-immersive) passages from Homer and Thucydides.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExperience, Narrative, and Criticism in Ancient Greece
Subtitle of host publicationUnder the Spell of Stories
EditorsJonas Grethlein, Luuk Huitink, Aldo Tagliabue
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780191882845
ISBN (Print)9780198848295
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameCognitive Classics
PublisherOxford University Press


  • Narratology
  • Immersion
  • Greek literature
  • Linguistics
  • embodied cognition
  • enargeia
  • Homer
  • Thucydides


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