Fan fiction often demonstrates a high level of knowledge of and insight into its source texts (or canons, in fan fiction vocabulary) and, as an allusive literary form, rewards equally high levels of knowledge in its readers. This knowledge has an erotic inflection (as, famously, in early English translations of the Bible, where to know is to intimately penetrate); fans have not only understanding but intimacy with their canon, and fan fiction increases this intimacy. Theorists of fan fiction often speak of fan fiction as filling the gaps in a source text, a phrase with its own sexual undertones that also describes fan fiction’s self-assumed role as interlinear glossing of a source text. Silences and absences in the source text act as barriers to intimacy, and fan fiction writers fill these silences with their imaginative activity, enabling their own deeper understanding of the world and characters of the source text. In its current context in popular media fandom, fan fiction is, among other things, a heuristic tool: a mental technology that facilitates understanding of a text by means of an affective hermeneutics—a set of ways of gaining knowledge through feeling.
Wilson, Anna. 2016. “The Role of Affect in Fan Fiction.” In “The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work,” edited by Ika Willis, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 21.http://ift.tt/2c6cCRl.
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