In the Absence of the Publisher's Peritext

Abstract (in English): 

To Genette, the basic “nature of the paratext” is functional (7). In his theoretical account, he
presents a number of paratextual units (title, dedications, epigraphs etc.) and proofs its functionality through the analysis of respective examples. At the same time, he alerts that
paratexts may be unproductive and notes: “from the fact that the paratext always fulfills a
function, it does not necessarily follow that the paratext always fulfills its function well” (409).
That said, paratexts may be dysfunctional in that a paratext does not meet the function Genette
originally envisioned. A paratext is also dysfunctional if it is absent where it’d be expected: based
and bound to the materiality of the book-as-object, Genette has developed a map to locate the
types of paratexts he designates. As per Genette, a preface supposedly precedes a work and an
epigraph shouldn’t intervene a body’s text. Likewise, the publisher’s peritext spans around and
within the body of a work, while the epitext is located outside of a work’s material body. A paratext’s location thus defines its function.
If a paratext is absent in that it isn’t possible to locate it within Genette’s map of paratexts bound
to a publication, it is supposedly dysfunctional. It may however attain an intended literary effect
(as is the case in Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy). Interestingly, the effects of dysfunctional paratexts can make it’s very functions perceptible (cf. Desrochers and Tomaszek). Approached from a more pragmatic perspective however, dysfunctional, or missing paratexts may entail problems connected to the functionality of “identification” (Genette 80).
In this presentation I investigate paratexts that are absent and not localizable where prescribed by Genette. This is the case in numerous publications of electronic literature where what Genette calls the “publisher’s peritext” largely is missing.
Methodologically, I proof the absences with analyses of what appears, or is supposed to be the
“publisher’s peritext” of those publishing apparatuses devoted to electronic literature. All in all, I
take into consideration respective publishers, magazines and journals, but also the apparatus of
individual, self-published works.
In my discussion, I relate to the function the publisher’s peritext is supposed to perform as per Genette and argue for it’s importance from the perspective of those who rely on the publisher’s peritext, such as for example librarians, or database catalogers in the field of electronic literature.

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Record posted by: 
Alvaro Seica