Editorial Process and the Idea of Genre in Electronic Literature in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1

Abstract (in English): 

The article focuses on two subjects: the process of editing the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1 (2006), and the idea of genre in electronic literature. The author was one of four editors of the first volume of the Collection, along with N. Katherine Hayles, Nick Montfort, and Stephanie Strickland. The Collection, which will be published on a regular basis, is intended to distribute contemporary electronic literature to a wider audience, and to provide a contextual and bibliographic apparatus to make electronic literature more accessible to audiences and educators. In the past decades, the forms of literary artifacts described as electronic literature have diversified to the extent that it is difficult to continue describe them using traditional terms of literary genre. The essay addresses some of the problems involved in classifying digital artifacts by genre, and suggests some avenues of addressing these epistemological challenges. The essay calls for a contextual understanding of works of electronic literature, based both on their nature as procedural artifacts and on their position within a historical continuum of avant-garde practices.

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Scott Rettberg