Wikipedia : Electronic Literature

Capstone 1

Reader-Writer-Text Relationship


In traditional literature, the reader-writer-text relationship is comparable to a two way street. The reader can only absorb the words that the writer chooses to use, and the author only has words to describe himself. However in e-literature, the writer can incorporate numerous different ways that are in digital form to get his ideas, thoughts, emotions and feelings across to his reader.


Electronic literature can range from a variety of features that allows the reader to become involved. For example, this could include the addition of media, videos, as well as interacting through text or questions. Interactive literature is a form of e-literature that requires the reader to engage and participate in the given content in order to understand key concepts. A book reader could also argue that they engage in books, however engaging in e-literature entails a more “hands on’ approach. Galatea by Emily Short is an interactive story that requires the reader to ask a series of set questions to a computer, which then releases pieces of narratives about itself. Galatea is considered literature because of what is being read and the goals that come out of asking questions and interacting with the computer.


Along with interactive literature being able to present itself in a variety of forms, David Golumbia in Games Without Play provides a very intriguing outlook as to why he believes that interactive literature and video games possess a common form. This form is relatable to  working towards a common goal. E-literature allows the reader to be able to interact with the different stories given to them. For example, Pry- A Novella. Pry is an interactive story on the Apple iTunes store that was created by Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman. Pry is only accessible with Apple products that include a touch screen so that the reader is able to interact within the story by pulling their fingers apart, pushing them together, and even running a finger across the screen. Within the game there are video and sound clips that help the reader understand the story as well as release clues as to what they should do next. Golumbia states that  “What emerges as a hidden truth of computer gaming–and no less, although it may be even better hidden, of other computer program use–is the human pleasure taken in the completing of activities with closure and with hierarchical means of task measurement’ (191-192). Golumbia is implying that one does not take pleasure in games simply by playing them but through the amount of engagement and completion that was invested within them. This form is considered literature because the reader is trying to dissect everything that they are given to understand what the author is trying to present.


There are times when video games are comparable to Interactive literature and can be considered literature because of their similar forms in gathering information, advancement, winning and completion. It is common in general video games to see a player working hard to get to the next level but theoretically, the player must work hard within their game to achieve it.  This is comparable/similar to how a person engaging in electronic literature must work to find the purpose, story or theme through interactivity .

What I would like to revise

List of Notable People and Works

Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman, the authors of Pry, A Novella have broadened and supported the non-linearity of digital literature. These authors gave importance to  interactivity and displayed many different forms of which e-literature can come in. In Pry there is a variety of actions the reader can use to interact within the story by using a touch screen. Readers have the option to pinch or spread their fingers, as well as be entertained by video and sound clips. The format of Pry compliments itself by using these actions to bring together a narrative that cannot be successfully transferred to paper. It expresses the art of e-literature being entirely of its own genre when it comes to things digital. However, Pry only comes with chapters one, two, three, and six. In Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature by Espen Aarseth, he categorizes this not as a mistake but as an action that is permitted.  “A cybertext is a machine for the production of variety of expression. Since literary theorists are trained to uncover literary ambivalence in texts with linear expression, they evidently mistook texts with variable expression for texts with ambiguous meaning’(2). Cybertext can be directly related to electronic literature. Aarseth is implying that digital literature can be ambiguous and acceptable because it is a genre that is of its own and should be judged as such.


Works Cited


Aarseth, E. (1997). Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. John Hopkins

University Press. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from JSTOR.

Golumbia, D. (2009). Games Without Play. John Hopkins University Press,40(1), 179-

  1. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from JSTOR.



Herstik, L. (2014, November 28). Pry Is a Novella-Meets—iPad App That You Touch.

Retrieved March 10, 2015, from



Portfolio. (2007, January 20). Retrieved March 10, 2015, from





I would like to reflect why I quoted Espen Aarseth in Capstone 1. I believe that Aarseth has so many great outlooks on what digital literature really is. In his writing Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic literature I used a specific quote

 “A cybertext is a machine for the production of variety of expression. Since literary theorists are trained to uncover literary ambivalence in texts with linear expression, they evidently mistook texts with variable expression for texts with ambiguous meaning.’

I loved this quote and chose to use it because It describes in a nutshell what digital literature really is. For example digital literature is NOT linear, nothing I have read in this class so far has been linear and I believe it is something that comes with the genre. To have linear digital literature would be like having an e-book which isn’t exactly the same. There are many different strategies and forms on how people use digital literature, I’m sure if someone wanted their writing to linear and digital they could do that.

However, this quote from Aarseth really is what made me consider what I’m writing and how it will make a reader “re-see” digital literature. I wanted the reader to see that there are so many options and variety’s within it. Personally, I felt that because we have been reading all of these different options such as Pry-A Novella,  and interacting with Gone Home while comparing it to literature, really affected my view and mindset of technology. I now use my iPad more than ever, just because I see I can do more with it than just listen to music and play games.

Also, I wanted to express how video games shared a common form with digital literature comparable to how Golumbia compared the two. I wanted the readers to see how you could tie something that wasn’t literature to something that was. Another way that Golumbia did with World of War Craft when defining if games are play or work. I wanted to broaden their minds to different perspectives and ideas how digital literature did that to me.

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