Readers who appear to be lost in a storyworld, members of theatre or cinema audiences who are moved to tears while watching a performance, beholders of paintings who are absorbed by the representations in front of them, players of computer games entranced by the fictional worlds in which they interactively participate - all of these mental states of imaginative immersion are variants of 'aesthetic illusion', as long as the recipients, although thus immersed, are still residually aware that they are experiencing not real life but life-like representations created by artefacts. Aesthetic illusion is one of the most forceful effects of reception processes in representational media and thus constitutes a powerful allurement to expose ourselves, again and again to, e.g., printed stories, pictures and films, be they factual or fictional. In contrast to traditional discussions of this phenomenon, which tend to focus on one medium or genre from one discipline only, the present volume explores aesthetic illusion, as well as its reverse side, the breaking of illusion, from a highly innovative multidisciplinary and transmedial perspective.
The essays assembled stem from disciplines that range from literary theory to art history and include contributions on drama, lyric poetry, the visual arts, photography, architecture, instrumental music and computer games, as well as reflections on the cognitive foundations of aesthetic illusion from an evolutionary perspective. The contributions to individual media and aspects of aesthetic illusion are prefaced by a detailed theoretical introduction. Owing to its transmedial and multidisciplinary scope, the volume will be relevant to students and scholars from a wide variety of fields: cultural history at large, intermediality and media studies, as well as, more particularly, literary studies, music, film, and art history.