In Defense of Meaning: Roberto Simanowski Close Reads Digital Art

By Yra van Dijk
Electronic Book Review

simanowski_digital coverDigital literature runs the risk of becoming top-heavy, by which I mean that the amount of theory (let's say: the head) on digital literature is weightier than the body of works to be considered. This is quite contrary to the situation in print literature, where serious literary criticism is diminishing, whereas works are abundant.

An attempt to explain this imbalance would point at the changes provoked by digital literature: at the effects it has on our notions of authorship, medium, content, readership, and the body, effects that need careful contemplation. Indeed, studies and papers on digital literature of the last decade have often focused on these larger consequences of the new art form, trying to establish taxonomies (Aarseth) for example. Other endeavors aimed to sketch the changes that occurred in reading (Gervais), to map the relation between digital literature and the larger field of new media technologies in general (Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Katherine Hayles’s work), or to establish the literary tradition from which the new art form stems (like New Media Poetics by Morris and Swiss).

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