Electronic literature  

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Electronic literature is a literary genre consisting of works of literature that originate within digital environments.

Contents

Definitions

N. Katherine Hayles discusses the topic in the online article Electronic Literature: What Is It. She argues in her 2008 text Electronic Literature that, "electronic literature, generally considered to exclude print literature that has been digitized, is by contrast 'digital born,' and (usually) meant to be read on a computer." Hayles also cites the definition offered by the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) as, "work with an important literary aspect that takes advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer."

On its official website, the ELO offers this additional definition of electronic literature as consisting of works which are:

  • Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
  • Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms
  • Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
  • Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
  • Interactive fiction
  • Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
  • Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
  • Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
  • Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing.

Preserving and Archiving Electronic Literature

Electronic literature, according to Hayles, becomes unplayable after a decade or less due to the "fluid nature of media." Therefore, electronic literature risks losing the opportunity to build the "traditions associated with print literature." On the other hand, classics such as Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story (1987) are still read and have been republished on CD, while simple HTML hypertext fictions from the 1990s are still accessible online and can be read in modern browsers.

Several organizations are dedicated to preserving works of electronic literature. The UK-based Digital Preservation Coalition aims to preserve digital resources in general, while the Electronic Literature Organization's PAD (Preservation / Archiving / Dissemination) initiative gave recommendations on how to think ahead when writing and publishing electronic literature, as well as how to migrate works running on defunct platforms to current technologies.

The Electronic Literature Collection is a series of anthologies of electronic literature published by the Electronic Literature Organization, both on CD/DVD and online, and this is another strategy in working to make sure that electronic literature is available to future generations.

Notable people and works

There are a number of notable authors, critics, and works associated with electronic literature.

References

  • Bolter, Jay David. Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print, Second Edition. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001.
  • ---. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.
  • Ciccoricco, David. Reading Network Fiction. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2007.
  • Hansen, Mark B. N. Bodies in Code: Interfaces With Digital Media. Routledge, 2006.
  • ---. New Philosophy For New Media. Cambridge:MIT Press, 2004.
  • Hayles, N. Katherine. Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.
  • ---. My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.
  • ---. Writing Machines. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.
  • Landow, George.Hypertext 3.0 : Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society), 2005
  • ---.Hypertext 2.0 : The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society), 1997
  • ---.Hypertext : The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society), 1991
  • ---.Hyper/Text/Theory, 1994
  • Manovich, Lev.The Language of New Media, MIT Press, Cambridge Mass, USA, 2001.
  • Pressman, Jessica. "The Strategy of Digital Modernism: Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries' Dakota," Modern Fiction Studies 54(2); 302-26.
  • Moulthrop, Stuart. You Say You Want a Revolution: Hypertext and the Laws of Media. Postmodern Culture, v.1 n.3 (May, 1991).

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Electronic literature" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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