ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

In her article "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" Urszula Pawlicka investigates the development of theoretical frameworks of and for the study of electronic literature. Pawlicka's objective is show how electronic literature developed and posits that the field underwent to date three transitional phases including several sub-phases where certain aspects and perspectives overlapped. She argues that by distinguishing developments in different phases we can see that electronic literature moved from text to technotext, from text as decoding meaning to text as a process of information and information system, from an interpretation to experience, from visual perception to performativity, from close reading to hyper reading, and several others. The most relevant aspect of the development of electronic literature to date is the attention paid to both theoretical and applied aspects of the background technical base of digitality, namely coding and its importance just the same as the content of electronic literature. Pawlicka suggests that future forms of electronic (digital) literature include aspects of collaborative programming, new media and digital literacy, the development of literary laboratories, the continuation of transdisciplinary projects, and macro and systemic studies of and in digitality.
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
&&"
$?<.?/(83@/<=3>C$</==E$?<.?/(83@/<=3>C
)96?7/ ==?/ <>3-6/
TToowwaarrdds a Hs a Hiissttorory of Ey of Eleclectrtronic Litonic Liteerraaturturee
UUrsrszzulula Pa Paawwlicklickaa
University of Warmińsko-Mazurski
9669A>23=+8.+..3>398+6A9<5=+> 2I:.9-=63,:?<.?//.?-6-A/,
$+<>90>2/ 97:+<+>3@/ 3>/<+>?</97798=313>+6?7+83>3/=97798=+8.>2/ #>2/<<>=+8.?7+83>3/=
97798=
/.3-+>/.>9>2/.3==/738+>39890=-296+<6C+8.:<90/==398+63809<7+>398 $?<.?/(83@/<=3>C$</== =/6/->=./@/69:=+8.
.3=><3,?>/=;?+63>C</=9?<-/=38=/@/<+65/C=?,4/->+</+=09<A23-23>=:+</8>?83@/<=3>C3=0+79?=38-6?.381,?=38/==
>/-289691C2/+6>2@/>/<38+<C7/.3-38/+8.9>2/<=/6/->/..3=-3:638/=38>2/2?7+83>3/=+8.=-3/8-/=
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture>2/://<</@3/A/.0?66>/B>+8.9:/8+--/==6/+<8/.49?<8+638>2/
2?7+83>3/=+8.=9-3+6=-3/8-/=:?,63=2/=8/A=-296+<=23:09669A381>/8/>=90>2/.3=-3:638/90-97:+<+>3@/63>/<+>?</+8.
>2/H/6.90-?6>?<+6=>?.3/=./=318+>/.+=-97:+<+>3@/-?6>?<+6=>?.3/=$?,63-+>398=38>2/49?<8+6+</38./B/.38>2/
88?+63,6391<+:2C908163=2 +81?+1/+8. 3>/<+>?</2+.AC-5/+6/C>2/<>=+8.?7+83>3/=3>+>3988./B
G97=98%/?>/<=&>2/?7+83>3/=8./B*36=98?7+83>3/=8>/<8+>398+697:6/>/&#>2/
8>/<8+>398+63,6391<+:2C90>2/!9./<8 +81?+1/==9-3+>398907/<3-++8.&-9:?=6=/@3/<G/49?<8+63=
+F63+>/.A3>2>2/$?<.?/(83@/<=3>C$</==79891<+:2=/<3/=90995=3897:+<+>3@/?6>?<+6&>?.3/=98>+->
-6-A/,:?<.?//.?
%/-977/8./.3>+>398
$+A63-5+(<=D?6+'9A+<.=+3=>9<C906/-><983- 3>/<+>?</ CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 
2I:.B.939<1
G3=>/B>2+=,//8.9?,6/,638.://<</@3/A/.,C/B:/<>=38>2/H/6.
G/+,9@/>/B>:?,63=2/.,C$?<.?/(83@/<=3>C$</==E$?<.?/(83@/<=3>C2+=,//8.9A869+./.>37/=+=90
UNIVERSITY PRESS <http://www.thepress.purdue.edu>
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
ISSN 1481-4374 <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb>
Purdue University Press ©Purdue University
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, the peer-reviewed, full-text, and open-access learned journal in the
humanities and social sciences, publishes new scholarship following tenets of the discipline of comparative
literature and the field of cultural studies designated as "comparative cultural studies." In addition to the
publication of articles, the journal publishes review articles of scholarly books and publishes research material in its
Library Series. Publications in the journal are indexed in the Annual Bibliography of English Language and
Literature (Chadwyck-Healey), the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (Thomson Reuters ISI), the Humanities
Index (Wilson), Humanities International Complete (EBSCO), the International Bibliography of the Modern Langua-
ge Association of America, and Scopus (Elsevier). The journal is affiliated with the Purdue University Press monog-
raph series of Books in Comparative Cultural Studies. Contact: <clcweb@purdue.edu>
Volume 16 Issue 5 (December 2014) Article 2
Urszula Pawlicka,
"Towards a History of Electronic Literature"
<http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Contents of CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014)
Thematic Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture
Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
<http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/>
Abstract: In her article "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" Urszula Pawlicka investigates the
development of theoretical frameworks of and for the study of electronic literature. Pawlicka's objec-
tive is show how electronic literature developed and posits that the field underwent to date three tran-
sitional phases including several sub-phases where certain aspects and perspectives overlapped. She
argues that by distinguishing developments in different phases we can see that electronic literature
moved from text to technotext, from text as decoding meaning to text as a process of information and
information system, from an interpretation to experience, from visual perception to performativity,
from close reading to hyper reading, and several others. The most relevant aspect of the development
of electronic literature to date is the attention paid to both theoretical and applied aspects of the
background technical base of digitality, namely coding and its importance just the same as the content
of electronic literature. Pawlicka suggests that future forms of electronic (digital) literature include as-
pects of collaborative programming, new media and digital literacy, the development of literary la-
boratories, the continuation of transdisciplinary projects, and macro and systemic studies of and in
digitality.
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 2 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
Urszula PAWLICKA
Towards a History of Electronic Literature
A history of electronic literature can assist scholarship and the teaching of literature because "literary
history makes evident diachronically the great and extremely complex connections between periods in
time" (Pope xvii). Owing to the structures and practice of new media, the development of electronic
literature from its inception as computer literature to web-based literature has aspects different from
printed literature. That a history of electronic literature is not only relevant, but that it is necessary
can be seen in the work of digital humanities scholars such as Alice Bell, N. Katherine Hayles, George
P. Landow, Lev Manovich, or Marie-Laure Ryan who in many instances refer to aspects of the history
of electronic literature ("electronic" literature is also termed at times as "digital" literature). At the
same time, electronic literature is changing as a consequence of the development of technology and
its uses more rapidly than print literature did. Further, the creation and consumption of electronic lit-
erature and its history and thus its teaching are developing towards an important perspective in edu-
cation as for example several studies in the American Comparative Literature Association's 2014-2015
Report on the State of the Discipline of Comparative Literature <http://stateofthediscipline.acla.org>
suggest.
In the following I describe transitional phases of electronic literature I perceive to be relevant. I
should note that perhaps the most important aspect in the development of electronic literature is its
transdisciplinarity and the possibility of interactive creation and participation. This is the result from
the fact that the history of electronic literature is at the same time the history of digital technologies
and hence I posit that if scholars of literature intend to describe electronic literature in an appropriate
way, they need to embed it in the context of digital technologies. This perspective is to avoid the situ-
ation of the history of print literature where it is only in the last few decades that such fields as the
history of the book including printing technology or empirical readership studies have become fields of
study and thus enhance our knowledge of literature and its history. In the study at hand I discuss one
of the main elements of any history of literature, namely theory construction and I posit that with re-
gard to theories of electronic literature we can distinguish between several phases of transition. I des-
ignate as the first phase of electronic theory construction the time of "computer literature," the time
when texts were generated on the computer prior to the appearance of the world wide web in 1994
(for pre-web scholarship about computer literature see, e.g., Balpe; Bolter; Finger; Vuillemin and
Lenoble). In the first phase of theories of electronic literature I single out two studies which in my
opinion are seminal: George P. Landow's 1992 Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical
Theory and Technology and Espen J. Aarseth's Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (although
the book was published after the appearance of the world wide web in 1994, Aarseth analy-ses mat-
ters prior to the web).
The second phase of the theory of electronic literature is broad and complex and stretches to
2008. To elucidate these complexities, I suggest that several sub-phases occurred and occur between
1994 and today and I do this in order to distinguish, for example, between Aarseth's study and those
by John Cayley and Rita Raley who were the first to consider "text" and "code," namely the computer
codes which underlie the presentation of text, image, sound, and animation. This sub-phase is per-
haps best elucidated in Hayles's 2005 My Mother Was a Computer in which she summarized Aarseth's
ideas and replaced the notion of "cybertext" with the category of "technotext" in order to determine
new directions in scholarship. Further, Hayles applied the term "intermediation" to consider differences
and relationships between language and code, print text and digital text, human cognition, and the
machine. In addition, the second phase broadened the meaning of electronic literature by incorporat-
ing new categories whereby theorists departed from traditional literary theory in analyses of electronic
literature and we can observe the development of the following areas and categories: kinesthetic,
haptic, and proprioceptive experience of digital text (see, e.g., Angel and Gibbs), body interpreted as
code (see Hansen), new types of performativity in reading literature (see, e.g., Fernández-Vara), col-
laborative programming (see, e.g., Montfort), conceptual code work and curating electronic literature
as an opposition to the anthologizing of literature (see, e.g., Grigar, "Why Curating?"). I posit that the
end of the second phase of theories of electronic literature is represented by Hayles's 2007 Electronic
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 3 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
Literature: New Horizons for the Literary, in which she summarizes the most important previous theo-
ries. While the second phase of theories of electronic literature is particularly complex, we can observe
tendencies which are clearly different from the first phase.
The begin of the third phase of transition in theories of electronic literature is Dene Grigar's 2009
article "Electronic Literature: Where Is It?" because she asked questions less about the content of
electronic literature than about its place in the academic community and, more broadly, in digital hu-
manities. Grigar's study and the questions she asked conflicts with approaches which dominated the
second phase. Further, I posit that the third phase represents a transition to what we call today "digi-
tal humanities" (for a bibliography of the field see Tötösy de Zepetnek, "Bibliography"). However, with
regard to the arrival of the third phase, also critical code studies are relevant and here Mark C.
Marino's 2006 article is important. Although the study appeared in 2006, some issues have appeared
in the second phase as promising research perspectives, but it is in the third phase of transition that
they came to play an important role. A good example of this process is the arrival aforementioned crit-
ical code studies which by now is an academic subfield of software studies and digital humanities and
it includes the "interpretation of computer code, program architecture, and documentation within a so-
cio-historical context" (Marino
<http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/electropoetics/codology>; see also Fuller; Pressman,
Digital, "Electronic"). It is significant to highlight that the third phase of transition is connected to the
development of new technologies leading to such advances in digitality as the increasing deployment
and use of text and image on handheld devices (where also interart creation occurs as in text, image,
moving image, and sound). For example, according to Paul Levinson, the iPhone—launched in 2007—
started a new phase in the history of new media, namely the development of mobile devices which af-
fect, among others, social media. In consequence, new technology and its impact especially on the
level of social practices—including electronic literature—underline the reason why theoretical frame-
works are developed and discussed. In sum, this understanding of new media and its impact under-
scores the close relationship of the technical with issues of theory construction.
Next, I discuss situations where we can observe contact and overlap of particular notions and ide-
as between said three phases of transition between theories. My first locus of a particular situation of
contact and development is what I term as the "echo of postmodernism" and I begin from this point
because postmodernism had a particular impact on the formation of theories of electronic literature. In
retrospect, we can observe the shift from the domination of postmodern theory and departing from it
to the reinterpretation of that theory. For example, in his 1992 Hypertext, Landow argued that
hypertextuality is a part and a continuation of postmodern theory and suggested that the work of Ro-
land Barthes and Jacques Derrida represented hypertextuality in particular and that Julia Kristeva's
intertextualism, Mikhail Bakhtin's multivocality, and Jean Baudrillard's theory of simulacra are in many
ways also examples of hypertextuality. Landow captured theoretical and methodological tools from
postmodern theory to elaborate on electronic textuality, its structure, and a way of its reading includ-
ing such concepts and practices as multilinearity, multisequential reading, the labyrinth, lexia, nomad-
ism (Beiguelman), and palimpsest. Interestingly, Jay David Bolter, in his 1991 Writing Space: Com-
puters, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print, argued that hypertextuality includes poststructural
conceptions of the open text. Further, in 1997 Aarseth published her Cybertext and coined a new cat-
egory and methodological tools to investigate the electronic text as a cultural and literary phenome-
non. It is at this point that we can observe a moving away from postmodern theory which emphasized
text detached from medium. Aarseth challenged us to rethink text in its format of electronic textuality
and the role of machines. It is no accident that the term cybertext is created by merging two words:
cybernetic and text in order to demonstrate the specifics of a new textuality. Aarseth postulated that
text cannot anymore be detached from its medium, namely the machine that shapes text and deter-
mines its structure, function, and operations (21).
It is worthwhile to mention that cybertext is not limited to electronic text per se, but as Aarseth
stated "cybertext is a 'perspective' on all forms of textuality" (18). Viewed in this way, in my opinion
the term cybertext seems to be inadequate. Therefore, Hayles's technotext seems to be more appro-
priate for describing mutual influences between text and its medium. In turn, in 1997 Ryan argued for
a re-thinking of reading in the electronic age and thus anticipated the importance of the potentialities
of the electronic text. Although Ryan disagreed with Aarseth who made operations (i.e., the aspect of
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 4 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
cybernetics) more important than narrative (i.e., the literary aspect), she also demonstrated the turn-
ing from postmodern theory to theoretical frameworks in the context of technologies. Thus, while
Aarseth concentrated more on the semiotics of text and computer, Ryan elaborated on the narrative of
electronic literature and combined literary theory by taking the term "virtual reality" with cybernetic
theory: "While the concept of the virtual dates back to the Middle Ages and scholastic philosophy, it
has acquired a narrow technical meaning in computer science. The concept of 'virtual machine' refers
to the fact that users do not interact with the computer on the level of machine language—that is,
with instructions coded in zeroes and ones—but in a higher-level language which must be translated
into instructions the actual machine can understand. Through a metonymic transfer, 'virtual' has come
to describe not just certain constructs used in computer science but the entire field of electronic tech-
nology and many or most of its uses" ("Virtuality" 121; Ryan later developed her notions further, for
example in her 2003 Narrative as Virtual Reality). The second phase of transition in the history of the-
ories of electronic literature is, in addition to such fields as the study of code, characterized by the de-
scription of electronic poetics and this occurred in various fields of study, for example the influential
work of Manovich who developed concepts for a new media language and Hayles who analyzed fea-
tures and characteristics of electronic literature.
As I mention above, the third phase of electronic literature challenges theorists of postmodernity
to reread its ideas and this is a good example of the contact and overlap between transitional phases
of theoretical construction. Marsha Kinder's introduction to Transmedia Frictions is a good example
when she re-reads Barthes's S/Z in order to elucidate his thought in the context of today's digitality.
Kinder demonstrates that Barthes turned from linguistic inquiries toward textual meanings and the
production of meaning thus moving from structuralism to poststructuralism. Contrary to Landow's idea
that poststructuralism concentrates only on text and the materiality of the text, Kinder argues that
Barthes's aim was to move literary theory from linguistic, rhetorical, and grammar inquiries toward
sociology and ideological implications. Therefore, Kinder calls theorists of electronic literature to pay
attention to sociological instead of structural matter and their problematics. By concentrating on criti-
cal contexts, theorists departed from cyberstructuralist approach toward taxonomadism, which means
according to Talan Memott that there is no universal new media poetic, but there is the poetic model
appropriate for individual pieces of work. While in the first phases researchers sought to build new
media poetic, in the third phase they prove that digital work eludes any categorization as a result of
its transdisciplinary nature and technological advancement. To put in a different way, we can consider
the poetic model only in separate ways as it is created in response to individual pieces of work. Con-
sequently, theorists attempt to abolish the borders between genres of electronic literature and suggest
the use of different umbrella designations such as taxonomadism (Memmott), nomadic poems
(Beiguelman), recombinant poetics (Seaman), creative cannibalism (Funkhouser, "Le(s) Mange"), etc.
Another transitional sub-phase in theories of electronic literature is that of the semiotic approach.
While in the first phase of electronic literature theorists concentrated on the comparison between the
print text and the electronic text—based on Landow's and Bolter's notions—I suggest that the semiotic
approach when applied to electronic literature aimed to point out the differences between these two
forms of text whereby the main distinction was connected to the visual aspect of the text. Thus, as-
pects of visuality, spatialization, and interaction were the basic elements in semiotic analyses of elec-
tronic literature. Bolter's assumption that the computer is "a new writing system and provides us with
a new kind of book" (224) moved toward the conclusion that computer literacy is semiotic. Further,
Bolter claimed that perceptions of the electronic text occur through a by-product of semios: "A narra-
tive text is above all a texture of sign, and through signs it invites the reader into an imagined world"
(228). Visuality and signs were also stressed by Michael Joyce who considered hypertext as a visual
form and symbolic structure which can be "combined and manipulated by anyone having access to
them" (19).
In the second phase of theories of electronic literature, the object of work was enriched by new el-
ements such as sound and animation. Multimedia, multilayers, and polisemioticss challenged theorists
to take new perspectives on the electronic text. This development lead to questions about the text it-
self, the consideration of the role of computers, and thus the relationship between text and machine.
This point brings me to Aarseth's theory where she explains that the digital semiotic text consists of
three elements: operator, medium, and verbal sign (20). This semiotic triangle is a significant moment
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 5 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
in the history of electronic literature, because it proves gradual departure from text and verbal signs
toward a focus on the operator (human and machine). The interest in verbal signs has been partially
replaced by considerations of other elements such as sound, animation, movement and above all,
code. The first elaboration about code in the context of history of theories took place in Hayles's publi-
cation My Mother Was a Computer in which she investigated moving from speech, represented by
Saussure's thought, through writing in Derrida's sense, to code, which according to Aarseth "exceeds
both writing and speech" (41). In sum, code is a partner of speech and writing enabling computing
and programming of the world. The computer is not taken as a context for media archeology, but as a
"universal semiotic machine" (Cramer <http://www.dvara.net/hk/combinatory_poetry.pdf>; see also
Cramer, "Post-Digital"). I should like to mention that in addition to semiotics as a "platform," as it
were, that is influential among theories of electronic literature, there is also the study of rhetoric which
is gaining influence in computer literacy with regard to education, citizenship, etc. (perhaps the desig-
nation of "digital literacy" would be appropriate) (see e.g., Rutten and Vandermeersche
<http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol15/iss3/>).
The above argumentation for a different view of the electronic text suggests that the third phase
of theories of electronic literature would be with focus on the importance of code in the creation of the
electronic text. For example, Cayley's idea was to pay attention to the function of code, its meaning,
and the relationship between the inner layer of text and the surface of text: "code and language re-
quire distinct strategies of reading" and thus she argued for the necessity to develop code studies
(<http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/electropoetics/literal>; see also Schreibman and
Hanlon). Consequently, in the third phase of theories of electronic literature scholars and artists con-
centrate on developing codes because "the computer code … is entangled with all aspects of culture
and memory" (Berry 5). Based on David M. Berry's consideration about digital humanities and the role
of code, we can agree that understanding culture can take place through digital technology and this il-
lustrated by the work, among others, by historians who were the first to engage the computer to digit-
ize texts. Hence, understanding culture means understanding code. Thus it seems understandable that
we witness the development of electronic literature from text as a static object consisting of blocks of
text (lexia) and links to text as a process or event. While in the first phase electronic texts were built
by static blocks of text including images and interaction (limited to selection of path), in the second
phase, electronic literature became more multi-modal, multilayered, performative, and polisemiotic.
Electronic texts are not considered as objects which include only visual and verbal components (see
Bolter 25), but as events, processes, and to machines to organize matter and time: "digital character-
istics imply that the poem ceases to exist as self-contained object and instead become a process, in
which the time of production, appropriate for print text, is replaced by the time of performance"
(Hayles, "The Time" 181). New ways of describing electronic texts is related to the investigation of the
inner layer of text and to analyze its mechanism. Thus, electronic literature moves from the traditional
meaning of writing and reading toward the programming of text, performative reading, and the inter-
active creation of meaning. Following in this direction, we can track various categories beyond process
and event to describe the electronic text as negotiation instead of communication (Funkhouser, Pre-
historic) or as perplexia (Memmott) associated with participating in the activities of dynamic infor-
mation structure (see Morris 17; see also Gutierrez, Marino, Gervás, Borràs Castanyer), instrumental
text instead of textual instrument about various interpretation replaced by the idea of actively engag-
ing in creation and manipulation of text (see Wardrip-Fruin).
Based on above considerations, I posit that with regard to the third phase we cannot talk about in-
terpretation and the reading of electronic texts, but that we should turn to the study of its performa-
tivity. Drawing on Adelaide Morris's ideas, this turn is from object to event in which the "digital image
is not just activated but also augmented, amplified, and filtered by the user's body" (17). Morris
demonstrates how "readerly" reading is replaced by the physical performative experience of the elec-
tronic text (Morris takes her notions from Mark B.N. Hansen's New Philosophy for New Media and Car-
rie Noland's Digital Gestures, both of whom open new perspectives and stimulate inquiries about rela-
tionships between processes of information, the digital text, and the user's body). The explanation of
their theories is beyond the scope of my discussion here; nevertheless, it may be instructive to point
to the most important categories and research perspectives including the embodiment of new media
(haptic, kinesthetic, and proprioceptive capacities), affective as the center of the body-brain achieve-
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 6 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
ment of making sense of digital images and digital poems as gestures which refer to physical move-
ments of the body in space (see Noland), and the aesthetic experience of what it generates in elec-
tronic literature (see Ricardo; Simanowski). It seems to be understandable that the growing meaning
of code work, collaborative work, and the idea of "do-it-yourself" led to enhancing the social and polit-
ical context, as well as the growing number of immersive, kinesthetic, and sensual works which led to
the development of considerations about bodily and sensual interactions.
My next observation about the sub-phases in theories of electronic literature is about the medium
and materiality of the electronic text: from transparent digital medium and immaterialization of the
electronic text to the strengthening of the significance of medium and materialization of digital text.
The first feature, transparent digital medium and immaterialization of electronic text, was apparent in
the first phase in which theorists concentrated on textuality instead of the importance of the medium.
Texts on the screen seem to be devoid of materiality. Essentially, we cannot touch and smell it like a
traditional book and thus we cannot talk about its fixed structure. The text without materiality seems
to be intangible and virtual. After Aarseth's notions, it is comprehensible that a medium is not trans-
parent, but is the significant part of the work shaping its structure and meaning. Uncovering the inner
layer of text led to a new question about materialization of text. Paying attention on the artistic book
also contributed to stimulation a question about the significance of medium. Thus, in the third phase
above considerations moved on the one hand toward the enhancing of the importance of medium and
on the other hand toward the strengthening of the meaning of interface.
The emphasis of the role of medium contributes to the discussion about materialization of the digi-
tal text. Materiality is considered as the level of what occurs in the machine (calculation as a material
process) and at the level of what occurs in the interaction with the user (the system acts on the user
and is acted by the user) (see, e.g., Bouchardon, <http://elmcip.net/critical-writing/aesthetics-
materiality-electronic-literature>; Bouchardon and López-Varela <http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/1481-
4374.1793>; see also Tötösy de Zepetnek, Digital Humanities; Tötösy de Zepetnek, López-Varela,
Saussy, Mieszkowski <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol13/iss3/>). Following Bouchardon, we
can assume that the digital text shifted from the aesthetic use of the written language to the aesthet-
ics of materiality (i.e., the materiality of the text, that of the interface, and that of the medium). Im-
portantly, it is argued that that the electronic text does not immaterialize the text; on the contrary, it
focuses our attention to the materialization of text through the enhancing of the role of medium. How-
ever, I should like to note that efforts to preserve electronic literature in the 1980s and 1990s failed in
many instances because of obsolete media and computer programs (on the importance of preserva-
tion and archiving see, e.g., Brito; Liu, Durand, Montfort, Proffitt, Quin, Réty, Wardrip-Fruin; Paul;
Zimmermann).
The next transitional phase is that of the aesthetic as in visual aesthetics, the aesthetics of event,
and critical aesthetics. Assuming that in the first phase focus was on visual aspects of electronic litera-
ture displayed on the computer screen, is seems understandable that the issue of aesthetics was lim-
ited to the visual aspects of the electronic text and this was done by differentiating between the elec-
tronic text and the printed text. In the second phase, in turn, theorists elaborated different kinds of
aesthetics directing attention toward the creation of aesthetic texts by the machine. It seems to be
clear that this viewpoint was the consequence of the idea of technotext and digital poetics: "the aes-
thetics of digital poetry are an extension of modernist techniques" (Funkhouser, Prehistoric 24). Im-
portant is that between the three phases in the history of theories of electronic literature there have
been and continue to be several perspectives of aesthetics including the aesthetics of event (Hayles),
the aesthetics of noise (Engberg), the aesthetics of frustration (Bootz), the aesthetics of glitch
(Goriunova and Shulgin), and the aesthetics of code (Raley). While glitch is the sign of dysfunctional
machines, the aesthetics of code, in turn, is the sign of open source.
While aesthetics in the second phase were associated with the structure and formation of text by
the machine, in the third phase digital aesthetics are understood as the embodiment of critical consid-
erations of artistic, social, and political issues. Therefore, although theorists depart from aesthetics
toward the role of the machine, the user's interaction, and the experience of digital work, they point
out that aesthetics is replaced by critical a media aesthetics defined by Chris Funkhouser as follows:
"a critique of media aesthetics implies that the creation and reception of word, image, an object are
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 7 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
now complicit with new media but must be examined in a rational rather than an instrumental per-
spective" (New Directions viii).
The last transitional phase I discuss is the question of tools for electronic literature. We know that
the obsolescence of media is associated with changes in tools and programs used in the creation of
digital works. The first phase taking place and before the appearance of the world wide web in 1994,
was dominated by the publisher Eastgate and its program Storyspace which is why Hayles called this
time that of the "Storyspace School" when important hypertexts such as Joyce's afternoon, a story,
Shelly Jackson's Patchwork Girl, Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden were published by Eastgate. As Jill
Walker Rettberg writes, "with the advent of the web, new authoring and distribution channels opened
up, and this hub gradually lost its dominance. The transition from this relatively centralized and explic-
it community to the networked communities and scattered individuals of the Web is an interesting one
to explore" (<http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg/walker-rettberg.htm>). The
appearance of the world wide web ended the domination of the software Storyspace and similar pro-
grams and allowed to the access to and development of new tools to create digital works. Authors
used available and ready programs to their work including such software as by Macromedia (now Ado-
be), Dreamweaver, basic html, etc. Further, while the second phase was the time of the world wide
web, the third phase enhances the role of coding and the use of handheld devices which facilitate the
creation and consumption of creative "texts" ("text" is an umbrella term here including text proper,
image, sound, etc.). Although at software has been a necessary tool for artists, in the third phase we
also have "crowd programming."
In conclusion, the above "periodization" of theories of electronic literature understood as "phases"
of development assists us to locate electronic literature within literary history. By distinguishing devel-
opments in different phases we can see that electronic literature moved from text to technotext, from
text as decoding meaning to text as a process of information and information system, from an inter-
pretation to experience, from visual perception to performativity, from close reading to hyper reading,
and several others. The most relevant aspect of the development of electronic literature to date is the
attention paid to both theoretical and applied aspects of the background technical base of digitality,
namely coding and its importance just the same as the content of electronic literature. Future forms of
electronic (digital) literature are an open question; however, I suggest say that areas and fields where
digitality would develop include aspects of collaborative programming, new media and digital literacy,
the development of literary laboratories, and the continuation of transdisciplinary projects. Further
fields we can expect to develop include macro and systemic studies of and in digitality (see, e.g.,
Jockers; Schmidt; Tötösy de Zepetnek, About Systemic)
Note: I thank Dene Grigar (Washington State University) for her comments on my article and the Creative Media &
Digital Culture Program and the Electronic Literature Laboratory of Washington State University where I am hosted
as a Fulbright scholar in 2014-2015.
Works Cited
Aarseth, Espen J. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.
American Comparative Literature Association, ed. The 2014-2015 Report on the State of the Discipline of Compara-
tive Literature. stateofthediscipline.acla.org (2014-2015): <http://stateofthediscipline.acla.org>.
Angel, Maria, and Anna Gibbs. "At the Time of Writing: Digital Media, Gesture, and Handwriting." Electronic Book
Review (2003): <http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/electropoetics/gesture>.
Balpe, Jean-Pierre. Hyperdocuments, hypertextes, hypermédia. Paris: Eyrolles, 1990.
Beiguelman, Giselle. "Nomadic Poems." Media Poetry: An International Anthology. Ed. Eduardo Kac. Bristol: Intel-
lect Books, 2007. 97-104.
Bell, Alice. The Possible Worlds of Hypertext Fiction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Berry, David M. "An Interpretation of Digital Humanities." Understanding Digital Humanities. Ed. David M. Berry.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 1-20.
Bolter, Jay David. Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. London: Routledge, 1991.
Bootz, Philippe. "The Problematic of Form Transitoire Observable: A Laboratory for Emergent Programmed Art."
Dichtung digital 1 (2005): <http://www.dichtung-digital.de/2005/1/Bootz/index.htm>.
Bouchardon, Serge. "The Aesthetics of Materiality in Electronic Literature." elmcip.net (2008):
<http://elmcip.net/critical-writing/aesthetics-materiality-electronic-literature>.
Bouchardon, Serge, and Asunción López-Varela. "Making Sense of the Digital as Embodied Experience." CLCWeb:
Comparative Literature and Culture 13.3 (2011): <http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.1793>.
Brito, Manuel. "Electronic Poetry and the Importance of Digital Repository." CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and
Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/5>.
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 8 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
Cayley, John. "The Code is Not the Text (Unless It is the Text)." electronicbookreview.com (2002):
<http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/electropoetics/literal>.
Cramer, Florian. "Post-Digital Writing." electronicbookreview.com (2012):
<http://www.electronicbookreview.com/author/florian-cramer>.
Cramer, Florian. "Combinatory Poetry and Literature in the Internet." dvara.net (2002):
<http://www.dvara.net/hk/combinatory_poetry.pdf>.
Engberg, Maria. "Aesthetics of Visual Noise in Digital Literary Arts." elmcip.net (2010): <http://elmcip.net/critical-
writing/aesthetics-visual-noise-digital-literary-arts>.
Fernández-Vara, Clara. "Electronic Literature for All: Performance in Exhibits and Public Readings." trope-
tank.mit.edu (2013): <http://trope-tank.mit.edu/TROPE-13-01.pdf>.
Finger, Anke. "Comparative Literature and Interart Studies." Companion to Comparative Literature, World Litera-
tures, and Comparative Cultural Studies. Ed. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek and Tutun Mukherjee. New Delhi:
Cambridge UP India, 2013. 124-36.
Fuller, Matthew, ed. Software Studies. Cambridge: MIT P, 2008.
Funkhouser, Chris. "Le(s) Mange texte(s): Creative Cannibalism and Digital Poetry." epoetry2007.net (2007):
<http://www.epoetry2007.net/english/papers/funkhouseruk.pdf>.
Funkhouser, Chris. New Directions in Digital Poetry. London: Bloomsbury, 2012.
Funkhouser, Chris. Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms, 1959-1995. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P,
2007.
Grigar, Dene. "Electronic Literature: Where Is It?" electronicbookreview.com (2008):
<http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/technocapitalism/invigorating>.
Gigar, Dene, Lori Emerson, and Kathi Inman Berens. "Curating the MLA 2012 'Electronic Literature' Exhibit." rhi-
zomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge 24 (2012): <http://www.rhizomes.net/issue24/grigar.html>.
Goriunova Olga, and Alexei Shulgin. "Glitch." Software Studies. Ed. Matthew Fuller. Cambridge: MIT P, 2008. 110-
19.
Gutierrez, Juan B., Mark C. Marino, Pablo Gervás, and Laura Borràs Castanyer. "Electronic Literature as an Infor-
mation System." hyperrhiz.net 6 (2009): <http://www.hyperrhiz.net/hyperrhiz06/>.
Hansen, Mark B.N. New Philosophy for New Media. Cambridge: MIT P, 2004.
Hayles, N. Katherine. Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P, 2008.
Hayles, N. Katherine. "Electronic Literature: What Is It?" eliterature.org 1 (2007):
<http://eliterature.org/pad/elp.html>.
Hayles, N. Katherine. My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts. Chicago: U of Chicago P,
2005.
Hayles, N. Katherine. "The Time of Digital Poetry: From Object to Event." New Media Poetics. Contexts,
Technotexts, and Theories. Ed. Adalaide Morris and Thomass Swiss. Cambridge: MIT P, 2006. 181-209.
Hayles, N. Katherine. Writing Machines. Cambridge: MIT P, 2002.
Jackson Shelly. Patchwork Girl. Cambridge: Eastgate Systems, 1996.
Jockers, Matthew L. Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History. Chicago: U of Illinois P, 2013.
Joyce Michael. afternoon, a story. Cambridge: Eastgate Systems, 1990.
Joyce, Michael. Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics. Michigan: U of Michigan P, 1995.
Kinder, Marsha. "Medium Specificity and Productive Precursors: An Introduction." Transmedia Frictions: The Digital,
the Arts, and the Humanities. Ed. Marsha Kinder, and Tara McPherson. Berkeley: U of California P, 2014. 3-5.
Landow, George P. Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology. Baltimore: The
Johns Hopkins UP, 1992.
Levinson, Paul. New New Media. Boston: Pearson, 2009.
Liu, Alan, David Durand, Nick Montfort, Merrilee Proffitt, Liam R. Quin, Jean-Hugues Réty, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
"Born-Again Bits: A Framework for Migrating Electronic Literature." eliterature.org (2005):
<https://eliterature.org/pad/bab.html>.
Marino, Mark C. "Critical Code Studies." Electronic Book Review (2006):
<http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/electropoetics/codology>.
Memmott, Talan. "Beyond Taxonomy: Digital Poetics and the Problem of Reading." New Media Poetics: Contexts,
Technotexts, and Theories. Ed. Adalaide Morris and Thomas Swiss. Cambridge: MIT P, 2006. 293-306.
Moulthrop, Stuart. Victory Garden. Cambridge: Eastgate Systems, 1995.
Montfort, Nick. "Programming for Fun, Together." Remediating the Social. Ed. Simon Biggs. Bergen: Electronic Lit-
erature, 2012. 15-9.
Morris, Adalaide. "New Media Poetics: As We May Think/How To Write." New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts,
and Theories. Ed. Adalaide Morris and Thomas Swiss. Cambridge: MIT P, 2006. 1-45.
Noland, Carrie. "Digital Gestures." New Media Poetics: Contexts, Technotexts, and Theories. Ed. Adalaide Morris
and Thomas Swiss. Cambridge: MIT P, 2006. 217-44.
Paul, Christiane. "The Myth of Immateriality: Presenting and Preserving New Media." Media Art Histories. Ed. Oliver
Grau. Cambridge: MIT P, 2007. 251-74.
Pope, Randolph D. "The Importance of Literary History in a Cultural Context." Hispania 95.3 (2012): xvi-vii.
Pressman, Jessica. Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014.
Pressman, Jessica. "Electronic Literature as Comparative Literature." The 2014-2015 Report on the State of the
Discipline of Comparative Literature. Ed. American Comparative Literature Association.
stateofthediscipline.acla.org (2014-2015):
<http://stateofthediscipline.acla.org/entry/electronic-literature-comparative-literature-0>.
Raley, Rita. "Code.surface//Code.depth." Dichtung digital 1 (2006): <http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2006/1-
raley.htm>.
Raley, Rita. Tactical Media. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2009.
Rettberg, Jill Walker. "Electronic Literature Seen from a Distance: The Beginnings of a Field." Dichtung digital 41
(2012): <http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg/walker-rettberg.htm> .
Urszula Pawlicka, "Towards a History of Electronic Literature" page 9 of 9
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/2>
Special Issue New Work on Electronic Literature and Cyberculture. Ed. Maya Zalbidea, Mark C. Marino, and Asunción López-Varela
Ricardo, Francisco J. "Introduction: Juncture and Form in New Media Criticism." Literary Art in Digital Performance.
Case Studies in New Media Art and Criticism. Ed. Francisco J. Ricardo. London: Bloomsbury, 2009. 1-9.
Rutten, Kris, and Geert Vandermeersche, eds. Literacy and Society, Culture, Media, and Education. Thematic Issue
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 15.3 (2013): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol15/iss3/>.
Ryan Marie-Laure. Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media. Bal-
timore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 2003.
Ryan, Marie-Laure. "Virtuality and Textuality: Reading in the Electronic Age." The Systemic and Empirical Approach
to Literature and Culture as Theory and Application. Ed. Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek and Irene Sywenky. Ed-
monton: Research Institute for Comparative Literature, U of Alberta and Siegen: Institute for Empirical Litera-
ture and Media Research, Siegen U, 1997. 121-36.
Schmidt, Siegfried J. "Literary Studies from Hermeneutics to Media Culture Studies." CLCWeb: Comparative Litera-
ture and Culture 12.1 (2010): <http://dx.doi.org/10.7771/1481-4374.1569>.
Schreibman, Susan, and Ann M. Hanlon. "Determining Value for Digital Humanities Tools: Report on a Survey of
Tool Developers." DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly 4.2 (2010):
<http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/4/2/000083/000083.html>.
Seaman, Bill. "Recombinant Poetics." Media Poetry: An International Anthology. Ed. Eduardo Kac. Bristol: Intellect
Books, 2007. 157-74.
Simanowski, Roberto. "What Is and toward What End Do We Read Digital Literature?" Literary Art in Digital Per-
formance: Case Studies in New Media Art and Criticism. Ed. Francisco J. Ricardo. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.
10-21.
Vuillemin, Alain, and Michel Lenoble, eds. Littérature et informatique. La Littérature générée par ordinateur. Arras:
Artois PU, 1995.
Tötösy de Zepetnek, Steven. "Bibliography for Work in Digital Humanities and (Inter)mediality Studies." Library Se-
ries, CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture (2013-):
<http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweblibrary/bibliographydigitalhumanities>.
Tötösy de Zepetnek, Steven, ed. About Systemic and Empirical Approaches in the Study of Literature and Culture.
Thematic Cluster Comparative Literature 67.1 (2015): 1-58.
Tötösy de Zepetnek, Steven, ed. Digital Humanities and the Study of Intermediality in Comparative Cultural Stud-
ies. West Lafayette: Purdue Scholarly Publishing Services, 2013.
Tötösy de Zepetnek, Steven, Asunción López-Varela, Haun Saussy, and Jan Mieszkowski, eds. New Perspectives on
Material Culture and Intermedial Practice. Thematic Issue CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 13.3
(2011): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol13/iss3/>.
Wardrip-Fruin, Noah. "From Instrumental Texts to Textual Instruments." noahwf.com (2003):
<http://www.noahwf.com/texts/textualInstrumentsShort.pdf>.
Zimmermann, Heiko. "New Challenges for the Archiving of Digital Writing." CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and
Culture 16.5 (2014): <http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/clcweb/vol16/iss5/7>.
Author's profile: Urszula Pawlicka is working towards her doctorate in Polish philology at the University of
Warmińsko-Mazurski with a dissertation entitled Literature and New Media: Theory and Practice. She is also mem-
ber of the Laboratory of the Intersemiotic and Intermedia Research at the University of Warsaw. In addition to nu-
merous articles, Pawlicka published the single-authored book (Polska) poezja cybernetyczna. Konteksty i
charakterystyka (2012) ([Polish] Cyberpoetry: Contexts and Characterization) and the edited digital volume Cyber-
netic Poetry in Poland <http://issuu.com/korporacja_haart/docs/polish_cybernetic_poetry_refresh> (2013).
E-mail: <ulapawlicka@gmail.com>
Article
Full-text available
With the development of new information and communication technologies, including digital and Internet, literature has undergone profound changes in the past three decades. This is an opportunity to update practice and form. After completing experiments related to digital media for the first time in the 1990s, today's online literature provides a series of exciting opportunities to experience, and these experiences have begun to become the subject of university research. Electronic literature is a collection of computer-assisted literary creation. Like the rise of information and communication technology, it has affected almost all areas of life. Electronic literature has now become a reality. The development trend of electronic literature is already a range that needs to be considered, especially how to increase interest in reading and literature. Unfortunately, electronic literature generally lags behind in West Africa, especially in Mali. Therefore, this article analyzes the electronic literature of Mali. The research method used by the author in this article is the literature review which consisted of the analysis of different articles, both on the internet and papers written by other researchers on the same topic. Also, for a better analytical approach in the framework of writing this article, The author considered it necessary to adopt the theoretical research approach, while secondary information was acquired by examining numerous relevant sources. This state of affairs led the author, through the judicious and relevant analysis of these important academic sources on this same topic, to the conclusion that Mali, due to certain factors, lags considerably behind in the field of electronics literature that is becoming more and more fashionable.
Article
Full-text available
The following article aims to discuss parodic reworkings of literary classics for the twenty-first century readers as a form of micro-literature. The short format initiated in 2000 by the British satirist John Crace in The Guardian has become increasingly popular and outshone longer, traditional narratives. Although it generated significant critical attention it has not been exhausted by other researchers. Thus, the main objective is the analysis of the transformative process of digestion between source-texts and their abridged versions. The most relevant aspects investigated here include generic boundaries of parody and pastiche, intertextual strategies and the role of the reader.
Book
Full-text available
Hur tar sig berättande uttryck i olika format, i olika medier, i olika kulturer och med olika syften? Vilka betydelser kan detta ha för lärande, undervisning, identitet och meningsskapande? Samtida och framtida textkulturer utmanar föreställningar om berättande liksom föreställningar om språk, litteratur och kommunikation. Vilka berättelser, i vid mening, skapas och vilka berättelser får plats i modersmålsdidaktisk forskning och praktik? Möjligheterna att i och genom de digitala medierna utveckla expressiva och avancerade berättelser där ”läsaren” i hög grad erbjuds, och förutsätts, medverka öppnar upp för didaktiskt relevanta frågeställningar och möjligheter. Nya textvärldar och ändrade förutsättningar för textskapande och textläsande erbjuder och frammanar till en rad olika frågeställningar med relevans för modersmålsdidaktisk forskning och praktik. I rapporten Framtida berättelser samlas nordiska forskare för att från olika perspektiv tillsammans begrunda hur modersmålsdidaktisk forskning och praktik kan förstås, studeras, utövas och utvecklas. Den refereegranskade rapporten är ett resultat av den femte nordiska modersmålsdidaktiska konferensen, NNMF5, som ägde rum vid Åbo Akademi i Vasa i december 2015. Bidragen i rapporten består av ett urval artiklar baserade på presentationer framförda på konferensen.
Article
Full-text available
In her article ?Visualizing Electronic Literature Collections? Urszula Pawlicka discusses the development of electronic literature by visualizing material available in the Electronic Literature Collection <http://collection.eliterature.org/>. Her visualization of electronic literature presents a timeline with tag clouds of keywords related to works classified chronologically by dates of publication. Pawlicka's visualization includes also all keywords of the Collection (two date there exist three Collections) separately without division in the publication dates of works. Pawlicka argues that keywords turn out to be important data to demonstrate changes occurring in the history of electronic literature. Further, in her visualization of electronic literature Pawlicka discusses the three waves of electronic literature including two transitions between them.
Article
Full-text available
This paper outlines the development of the hypertext fiction community that developed in the United States of America from the late eighties and onwards. This community was separate from the interactive fiction community (and largely thought of its works as different from “games”) and largely revolved around the use of Storyspace, a software tool for creating electronic literature, and later, around Eastgate, a publisher of hypertext fiction and the company that developed Storyspace. While some work was written and published in Hypercard and other systems, the technology of a dominant software authoring tool and of the mechanics of distribution (diskettes sold by mail order) formed the hub of the electronic literature community during this period. There was little or no communication with other communities, such as the IF community or digital art communities. With the advent of the web, new authoring and distribution channels opened up, and this hub gradually lost its dominance. The transition from this relatively centralised and explicit community to the networked communities and scattered individuals of the Web is an interesting one to explore. I will base this research on historical websites and articles published at the time, as well as on interviews. http://www.dichtung-digital.de/en/journal/archiv/?postID=278
Chapter
During recent years, literary texts in electronic and networked media have been a focal point of literary scholarship, using varying terminology. In this book, the contributions of internationally renowned scholars and authors from Germany, USA, France, Finland, Spain and Switzerland review the ruptures and upheavals of literary communication within this context. The articles in the book focus on questions such as: In which literary projects can we discover a new quality of literariness? What are the terminological and methodological means to examine these literatures? How can we productively link the logics of the play of literary texts and their reception in the reading process? What is the relationship of literary writing and programming? With contributions by Jean-Pierre Balpe, Susanne Berkenheger, Friedrich W. Block, Philippe Bootz, Laura Borràs Castanyer, Markku Eskelinen, Frank Furtwängler, Peter Gendolla, Loss Pequeño Glazier, Fotis Jannidis, Thomas Kamphusmann, Mela Kocher, Marie-Laure Ryan, Jörgen Schäfer, Roberto Simanowski and Noah Wardrip-Fruin.
Book
Written in hypertext and read from a computer, hypertext novels exist as a collection of textual fragments, which must be pieced together by the reader. The Possible Worlds of Hypertext Fiction offers a new critical theory tailored specifically for this burgeoning genre, providing a much needed body of criticism in a key area of new media fiction.
Chapter
In her article “Comparative Literature and Interart Studies” Anke Finger discusses the field of the study of literature and the other arts by 1) tracing the international trajectory of concepts and philosophies on how the arts interconnect and compare internationally; 2) analyzing forms of dialogue and communication between the arts that inform and shape artistic products or aesthetic approaches practiced by different groups or movements; and 3) exploring selected examples of dialogue between the arts by embarking on interart “translations” (ekphrasis), including visualizations and the scoring of literature.
Article
A singular and major historical view of the birth of electronic poetry. For the last five decades, poets have had a vibrant relationship with computers and digital technology. This book is a documentary study and analytic history of digital poetry that highlights its major practitioners and the ways that they have used technology to foster a new aesthetic. Focusing primarily on programs and experiments produced before the emergence of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s, C. T. Funkhouser analyzes numerous landmark works of digital poetry to illustrate that the foundations of today,s most advanced works are rooted in the rudimentary generative, visual, and interlinked productions of the genre's prehistoric period. Since 1959, computers have been used to produce several types of poetic output, including randomly generated writings, graphical works (static, animated, and video formats), and hypertext and hypermedia. Funkhouser demonstrates how hardware, programming, and software have been used to compose a range of new digital poetic forms. Several dozen historical examples, drawn from all of the predominant approaches to digital poetry, are discussed, highlighting the transformational and multi-faceted aspects of poetic composition now available to authors. This account includes many works, in English and other languages, which have never before been presented in an English-language publication. In exploring pioneering works of digital poetry, Funkhouser demonstrates how technological constraints that would seemingly limit the aesthetics of poetry have instead extended and enriched poetic discourse. As a history of early digital poetry and a record of an era that has passed, this study aspires both to influence poets working today and to highlight what the future of digital poetry may hold. Copyright
Article
In his article "Electronic Poetry and the Importance of Digital Repository" Manuel Brito analyzes selected early digital repositories of electronic poetry. In addition to issues concerning efficiency and discursive practice, Brito's discusses the objectives, contents, and the funding of digital repositories. Brito argues that digital repositories promote poetry, enable networking and quick publishing of innovative poetry, they intensify the reading experience, and make a readership possible that is larger than that of print poetry. Networking, interaction, and web-based communication intensify the writing and reading experience while new modes of discourse are emerging continually. Not just passive consumerism promoted by an attractive presentation, digital repositories engage in developing aesthetics of poetry as a continual process of innovation. Their objectives, contents, and the funding of these e-repositories are not based on market-driven concepts or by academic purposes, but on the wish to allow for a true encounter with language. Importantly, in the case of new media publishing the figure of the editor has become responsible for reconciling novelty, lived cultural experience, and technical know-how.