Electronic Literature

Leonardo Flores, I <3 E-Poetry: 500 Entries Later

Leonardo Flores, I ❤ E-Poetry: 500 Entries Later


The most prominent visibility of electronic literature since 1/22/2013 was the Electronic Literature Showcase hosted at the Library of Congress from April 3-5. It featured Electronic Literature & Its Emerging Forms, which not only displayed 27 works of electronic literature by American authors and held readings by them, but also included hands-on creation stations.  Items from the Deena Larson Collection at MITH were included, along with keynote speeches by Kathi Inman Berens, Dene Grigar, Matthew Kirschenbaum, and Nick Montfort.  To get a picture of what the exhibit was like, check out Kathi Inman Berens’ Storify report of its presence at MLA13 here.

HASTAC 2013 in Toronto from April 25-28 also featured a keynote speech by Joseph Tabbi on Relocating the Literary: In Networks, Knowledge Bases, Global Systems, Material and Mental Environments, in which he advocated:
Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 7.09.12 PM

New Scholarship

Several scholars had already taken up Tabbi’s movement with the publication of articles both in print (Narrative journal) and online (electronic book review).  Of particular interest was Database | Narrative | Archive: Seven interactive essays on digital nonlinear storytelling, which made use of Scalar to enact the very forms it was analyzing.  See the Zotero library for more articles.

Author Illya Szilak also brought mainstream attention to electronic literature through a series of blog posts on born-digital literature in the Huffington Post.  Her multimedia novel Queerskins has just been published as both a standalone interactive ebook and a socially networked novel.

New Texts

It is often difficult to discover new digital texts as they are published since they do not get the same kind of marketing that print texts do.  However, several organizations create listings of electronic literature.  See the ones linked below for the latest entries.

The Interactive Fiction Database
ELMCIP Knowledge Base (hosts both creative and critical works)


The presence of undergraduate and graduate courses on electronic literature during the Spring 2013 semester demonstrate how elit is being taken seriously as a literary form and an opportunity for scholarship.  Most of the classes ask students to not only critically read electronic literature, but to experiment with producing their own through programs such as Twine, just as our class did.

Electronic Literature at the University of Mary Washington, VA
Writing Electronic Literature at Kean University, NJ
Electronic Literature at Capliano University, Vancouver, BC

And in case none of the previous sources convince you that electronic literature is a serious and growing form, Alan Bigelow clears up misconceptions about electronic literature.

-Katie Kaczmarek


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