Electronic literature: What is it?

In her 2007 essay N Katherine Hayles provides the following definition (which I have rearranged):

a “digital born” literary work––that is:

 “a first generation            

digital object

created on a computer

and (usually) meant

      to be read on a computer”

 (inc smart phones and tablets etc.) 


There are potential pitfalls with such a definition which seemingly rules-out an electronic adaptation or revision as not being ‘first generation’, and what of notes or found objects that a poet may wish to use in their work?

However, it does have the twin strengths of relative simplicity and brevity and, to me, seems far more inclusive than the one that Stephanie Strickland provided in her piece ‘Born Digital‘which I referred to in an ealrier entry.

Hayles essay continues with an investigation of various genres of electronic literature, a very interesting discussion of the distinction between printed and electronic forms, and finishes with a consideration of the Electronic Literature Organization’s PAD (Preserving, Archiving and Dissemination) Initiative.


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