Raffaele Chiarulli

Panel 1C: Theories and Philosophies of Transcodification/1
Session 1 – July 1, 11:00 – 13:00

“Various are the incidents in one man’s life which cannot be reduced to unity”. First Aristotelian Lesson on Transcodification

For 2300 years, Aristotle’s Poetics has been telling us all we know about the art of structuring stories, together with our ability to know the world and the human being through them (Fusillo: 2001). Aristotle is one of the main
philosophers of all Western thought. At first, his inquiry was oriented towards the scientific field. This let him include in his research disciplines that had seldom been explored by thinkers before his time, focused within a wideranging system. Throughout the 20th century, Aristotle’s revival was nearly unanimous. In the 21st century, the modernity of his thought has been proved by the vivacity of neo-Aristotelian schools in many different fields, where several researchers rediscovered important ethical, anthropological and rhetorical topics thanks to the Greek intellectual. According to some recent in-depth analysis, the neo-Aristotelian philosophy is one of the most interesting new trends within the complex scenario of contemporary thought (Ventimiglia: 2017). The media landscape is not immune to this allure. Just think of the fortune of the neo-Aristotelian currents within the American screenwriting textbooks (Brenes: 2011). What are the reasons why a text written more than two thousand years ago survives every media revolution and continues to inform our way of reading the world and telling it? Where does storytelling – the way Aristotle helped us identify it and organize it – place itself in the post-digital era? If today we can speak of “transcodification”, it is thanks to some key concepts of the Aristotelian narrative theory. In particular, the content of chapters 8 and 9 of Poetics (according to the modern subdivision) traces the coordinates which are still very useful for media scholars and audiovisual storytellers, in order to prove that the storytelling which ruled the Western civilization for two thousand years is still alive and in good health.


Raffaele Chiarulli, PhD degree in Communication Studies, directs a Film Criticism workshop and collaborates with the Chairs of Semiotics and History of Film, as well as with the MISP – Master Program in International Screenwriting and Film Production at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan). He wrote Di scena a Hollywood. L’adattamento dal teatro nel cinema americano classico (Staged in Hollywood. The Adaptation from Stage to Film in the Classical American Cinema; Milan 2013) and Social Movies. Dal cinema digitale al cinema del sociale (Social Movies. From Digital Cinema to Social Cinema; Milan 2015). He edited, with Armando Fumagalli, a commentary on Aristotle’s Poetics for screenwriters (Rome, 2018).