Week 15: Electronic Literature

This week’s readings on electronic literature show new avenues for literature to occupy as physical copies of books lose mainstream appeal.  So many times, my students looked at me like I was crazy when I suggested they go to the library to find a book.  While the learned scholars will likely always appreciate printed books, I’m not sure that will be a constant for the masses.  Many people prefer reading on tables and e-readers.  Not everyone is interested in carrying around a physical copy of a book.

While this week’s readings went well beyond an elementary discussion of book vs. digital copy, it was a good place for me to start and begin thinking it through.  Rettberg suggests a connection between creative writing and digital medias, which seems like an easy to digest connection.  However, he explores it beyond simply a ‘creative’ project and discusses how these projects can also be “experiments in the scientific sense, sometimes in multiple disciplines simultaneously” (Rettberg, 129). As someone mostly interested in literature as a part of a multidisciplinary project, I like that the creativity moves beyond the actual means of composing.

Additionally, he moves on to discuss critical analysis of e-lit texts.  I am interested into his discussion of bringing “several digital humanities reading methods into conversation” (133).  I could image students at USF being interested in electronic literature as a course, as it feels to be pushing the boundaries of the historical tradition of literature.  As part of an emerging, rather than traditional, field– students may gain more agency and exigency into crafting their own research.  It opens up completely new territory and niches for both scholars and students to occupy.

I also think games are a great place to spur learning, especially as part of multidisciplinary studies that blend literature and history.  Serious games and educational games are used in the history and archeology fields.  However, many of the ones I’ve seen are missing a narrative.  Instead of making up a narrative, I think pairing literature in a serious game would lend to a richer understanding of the period and culture.

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