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Electronic Literature Publishing Practices: Distinct Traditions and Collaborating Communities

Abstract (in English): 

In this chapter, the findings and outcomes of the report on Electronic Literature Publishing and Distribution in Europe and related seminar, held at the University of Jyväskylä in March 2011, are summarized and discussed. In the survey, electronic literature refers to “works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer.” In this definition, it is significant that both digitized print literature and print-like digital literature—so-called e-books—are excluded. There are essential similarities in the cultural and commercial status of electronic literature in the thirty European countries this survey managed to cover. It is possible that some major players in the field may be missing, but it is unlikely that their forms of networked publishing practices would constitute a major counterexample to the findings presented here.

This survey covers most of Europe. The three main borderline areas are Russia, the Ukraine, and some newly independent countries in the Balkans. Russia is partly covered through an additional resource (Fedorova 2012, 122-124).

As there are no systematically gathered materials on the topic preexisting, the report is by necessity partly a historical account of the development of the electronic literature scene in various European countries. We are, however, concentrating here on the publication processes and procedures of electronic literature and not writing the history of European electronic literature. That would be a major task in itself, and there is an attempt at such history (or rather, histories) ongoing in the Cybertext Yearbook, where articles on the histories of Catalan, Croatian, German, Polish, Russian, and Slovene electronic literature have been published so far. Christopher Funkhouser’s (2007) Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms is an important account of the early forms of electronic literature. The ELMCIP Knowledge Base, in future, may also serve to present a thorough account of the European (but also global) electronic literatures.

(Source: Electronic Literature Publishing Practices: Distinct Traditions and Collaborating Communities by Raine Koskimaa)

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Scott Rettberg