Electronic literature or digital art? And where are all the challenging hypertextual novels?

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Lack of new and challenging, interactive hypertextual fictions causes a continuously growing frustration among literary scholars like myself. While we are witnessing a growing and exciting field within digital poetry, and especially digital art as such, hypertextual fictions seem to have become part of and/or floating into interactive digital performance and installation artworks. Noah Wardrip-Fruin’s CAVE-work Screen and Camilla Utterback’s Text Rain are among digital artworks based on text and words. According to Roberto Simanowski in “Holopoetry, Biopoetry and Digital Literature” (2007), however, Utterback’s work in particular, must be seen as a work of digital art rather than literature, since its aim is not to be read but to be played with. So how much text, how many literary generic traits must a hypertextual fiction include to be called literature and not digital art? This paper shall try to answer some of these questions, and if no new hypertextual works surface before the conference, I shall recycle the unsurpassed multimodal fiction Das Epos der Maschine by Urs Schreiber from 1998 (!) http://kunst.im.internett.de/epos-der-maschine/ and perhaps take a look at Scandinavian digital poetry sites like www.afsnitp.dk and www.netpoesi.no.

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Jill Walker Rettberg