The Storytelling of :) ;) D:


It’s hard to imagine a book written entirely in emoji that isn’t just about the conceit of writing an entire book in emoji, perhaps marketed as an Urban Outfitters coffee table book for guests to alternately smirk and groan at. And yet, as many digital natives know, emojis can be used in complicated and highly affective ways. At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tim Peters, analyzing the work of artist Xu Bing, suggests that the emoji—or the emoticon and its many visual cousins—is coming into its own as a new and fruitful form of storytelling:

This is a kind of fiction writing that resembles prose and resembles comics but is neither the one nor the other. It’s a synthesis, and one which was made available at this historical moment because of the personal computer and digital graphics.

Theodora Messalas is a New York-based writer and editor who could easily be talked into going to grad school. More from this author →