The (Problematic) Issue to Evaluate Literariness: Digital Literature Between Legitimation and Canonization

Abstract (in English): 

The first experiments in digital literary forms started as early as
the 1960s. From then, up to the mid-90’s, was a period that,
according to Chris Funkhouser (2007), can be considered as
a ‘laboratory’ phase. The rise of the Internet has resulted in the
proliferation of creative proposals. The first involves indexing
creative works in the form of databases, sometimes giving access
to hundreds of works without any hierarchical order. Since 2000,
digital literature has been experiencing a new phase, marked by
the creation of anthologies. Over the years, the evaluation and
selection criteria have proved to be as problematic as they are
necessary for these projects. The main issue of this paper is to
provide a critical discussion of these criteria.

I will first compare the corpus of two founding initiatives, i.e. collections
1 and 2 edited by the Electronic Literature Association
(ELO)1 and the ‘improved sheets’ published online by the
Canadian nt2 laboratory2, in order to bring out a list of works
commonly considered as ‘worthy’ by these communities. I will
then put the positions of four important players of this field into
perspective: Bertrand Gervais (director of the nt2 lab), Scott
Rettberg (co-editor of the first ELO collection and leader of the
European ELMCIP project devoted to digital literature3), Laura
Borràs (co-editor of the second ELO collection and director of
the Hermeneia research group4) and Brian Kim Stefans (co
-editor of the second ELO collection, and author of various works
presented in the ELO collections and nt2 ‘improved sheets’).
In spring 2011, I questioned them about their initiatives and their
selection criteria. In the ‘crossed corpus’ of ELO and nt2 works,
I will finally identify these selection criteria through a semiopragmatic

Source: author's introduction to article

Databases/Archives referenced:

Titlesort descending Organization responsible
ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base ELMCIP: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice, University of Bergen, Electronic Literature Research Group, University of Bergen, Program in Digital Culture
NT2 Répertoire Des Arts et Littératures Hypermédiatiques Laboratorie NT2, Université du Québec à Montréal
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Record posted by: 
Eric Dean Rasmussen