Close Reading New Media: Analyzing Electronic Literature

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Since the early nineteen-nineties, electronic art and literature have continually gained importance in artistic and academic circles. Significant critical and theoretical attention has been paid to how new media allow the text to break traditional power relations and boundaries. The passive reader becomes an active participant choosing his own path and assembling not just his own interpretation of the text (level of the signified), but also his own text (level of the signifier). Texts no longer have a beginning or an ending, being a web of interlinked nodes. The decentered nature of electronic text empowers and invites the reader to take part in the literary process. Poststructuralist theorists predicted a total liberation of textual restrictions imposed by the medium of print. However, while these are culturally significant claims, little attention has been paid to their realization. The goal of this volume is twofold. Our aim is to shed light on how ideas and theories have been translated into concrete works, and we want to comment on the process of close reading and how it can be applied to electronic literature. While all contributions deal with particular works, their aim is always to provide insight into how electronic fiction and new media can be read.

This book proposes close readings of work by Mark Amerika, Darren Aronofsky, M.D. Coverley, Raymond Federman, Shelley Jackson, Rick Pryll, Geoff Ryman and Stephanie Strickland.

(Source: Publisher's description)


Introduction: Close reading electronic literature / Jan Van Looy, Jan Baetens --
Stephanie Strickland's True north : a migration between media / Joseph Tabbi --
Sutured fragments : Shelley Jackson's 'Patchwork girl' in piecework / Elisabeth Joyce --
In search of Califia / Raine Koskimaa --
Underground lies : revisiting narrative in hyperfiction / Richard Saint-Gelais, René Audet --
Stealing of giving? On Raymond Federman's & Anne Burdick's 'Eating books' / Jan Baetens --
One must be calm and laugh : Geoff Ryman's web novel '253' as a hypertextual contemplation on modernity / Jan Van Looy --
Requiem for a reader? A semiotic approach to reader and text in electronic literature / Jack Post --
The narrative of an interface : rethinking hypertext theory by faceing design questions / Paul A. Harris --
Hypertextual consciousness : notes toward a critical Net practice / Mark Amerika.

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Eric Dean Rasmussen