March 10, 2015
What Constitutes as Electronic Literature?
Jimmy Rogers’ Capstone 1, Wikipedia Revision
N. Katherine Hayles discusses the topic in the online article Electronic Literature: What Is It. She argues in her 2008 text Electronic Literature that, “electronic literature, generally considered to exclude print literature that has been digitized, is by contrast ‘digital born,’ and (usually) meant to be read on a computer.” Hayles also cites the definition offered by the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) as, “work with an important literary aspect that takes advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer.”
On its official website, the ELO offers this additional definition of electronic literature as consisting of works which are:
- E-books, Hypertext Fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
- Animated poetry presented in graphical forms, for example Flash and other platforms
- Computer art installations which ask viewers to read them or otherwise have literary aspects
- Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
- Interactive Fiction
- Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
- Poems and stories that are generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
- Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
- Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing.
The Electronic Literature Organization’s official website states that literature can not only be digitalized from a print version, but may also be “born digital.”
Many people speculate on what can be considered electronic literature. The Electronic Literature Organization’s official website states that literature can not only be digitalized from a print version, but may also be “born digital.”1* Some people believe that many video games, particularly ones thick in plot, place the player in the shoes of the character, or is heavy in reading, are electronic literature, such as the indie game Gone Home. There is some speculation that performance based variations of flash mobs that originate online, such as Improv Everywhere also qualify as electronic literature.
I decided that I wanted to add to define what constitutes as electronic literature. I also wanted to add in speculative information to the definitions part of the article. I have done my fair share of reading different Wikipedia articles, and I have seen that speculation is included where it is due.