Travels in Cybertextuality. The Challenge of Ergodic Literature and Ludology to Literary Theory

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The dissertation’s main point of departure is the clash between explicit and implicit presuppositions, conceptualisations and generalisations in print-oriented literary theoretical paradigms and a plenitude of empirically verifiable anomalies and counter-examples to them found in digital and ergodic works of literature. The behaviour of these counter-examples is explained by cybertext theory that addresses the often neglected issue of the variety of literary media. Both the empirical counter-examples and the empirically verifiable differences in the behaviour of literary media allow us to expand and modify literary theories to suit not just one traditionally privileged media position but all of them. Therefore, in the first half of the dissertation, literary theory and narratology are viewed and modified from the perspective of slightly revised cybertext theory. In this process theories of ergodic and non-ergodic literature are integrated more closely and several so far non-theorized ways of manipulating narrative time, regulating narrative information, and generating narrative instances are located and theorized. In the second half of the dissertation, the role of cybertext theory and the position of ergodic literature are reversed as they are viewed from the perspectives provided by ludology and game ontology. This is necessary to better situate ergodic literature in the continuum of other ergodic phenomena and between interpretative and dominantly configurative practices. To this end a provisional and formal paradigm of ludology is first constructed and synthesized from previous ludological research and then applied to newer forms and genres of ergodic literature such as textual instruments.

(Source: University of Jyväskylä)

Critical writing referenced:

Titlesort descending Author Year
Literal Art John Cayley 2004
Literary Machines: The report on, and of, Project Xanadu concerning word processing, electronic publishing, hypertext, thinkertoys, tomorrow's intellectual revolution, and certain other topics including knowledge, education and freedom Theodor Holm Nelson 1993
Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media Marie-Laure Ryan 2015
New Media Poetry: Poetic Innovation and New Technologies Philippe Bootz, Jim Rosenberg, E. M. de Melo e Castro, John Cayley, Eduardo Kac, Eric Vos 1996
New narrative pleasures? A cognitive-phenomenological study of the experience of reading digital narrative fictions Anne Mangen 2006
Omission impossible: the ergodics of time Markku Eskelinen 1998
Ontological Boundaries and Methodological Leaps: The Importance of Possible Worlds Theory for Hypertext Fiction (and Beyond) Alice Bell 2011
Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation Gérard Genette 2001
Piecing Together and Tearing Apart: Finding the Story in afternoon Jill Walker Rettberg 1999
Playable Media and Textual Instruments Noah Wardrip-Fruin 2005
Poetic Machinations Philippe Bootz 1996
Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms, 1959-1995 Chris Funkhouser 2007
Principles and Processes of Generative Literature: Questions to Literature Jean-Pierre Balpe 2004
Remediation: Understanding New Media Jay David Bolter, Richard Grusin 2001
Six Problems in Search of a Solution: The Challenge of Cybertext Theory and Ludology to Literary Theory Markku Eskelinen 2007
Some Joyces, Not an Eco: Introduction to Instruments and Playable Texts Stuart Moulthrop 2008
The Gaming Situation Markku Eskelinen
The Language of New Media Lev Manovich 2000
The Moving Word: Towards the Theory of Web Literary Objects Janez Strehovec
The Structure of Hypertext Activity Jim Rosenberg 1996
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Scott Rettberg