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Network Writing (Chapter 6: Electronic Literature)

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This research collection includes references from the sixth chapter of Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg (Polity, 2018), on Network Writing. Network writing is electronic literature created for and published on the Internet. It may require readers to visit multiple sites to experience the narrative, it may interrogate the nature and materiality of the network itself, it may use the Internet’s potential for collaboration, or use the network as a site for performance. For electronic literature, networks are both platform and material. As technology has led to rapid societal change, one of the most logical extensions of the project of electronic literature is to serve as a locus of reflexive critique of the position of the human within the technological apparatus.

This chapter of Electronic Literature considers various practices of network writing that share an interest in the material properties of the global network and the writing environments it affords. While this constellation of practices is admittedly less squarely defined than some of the other genres addressed in the book, as it includes several subgenres with their own specific approaches to the network, there are clearly important strands of electronic literature that primarily engage with the architecture, code, and social structures of the network itself.

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Scott Rettberg