Week 6 – Electronic Literature – Flash Video

Paper #2 has been posted under Assignments

With one HTML hypertext under our belts, we’re going to take a look at some other forms of electronic literature this week. We’ll look at four shorter works.

Some of the literature we’re going to explore this week makes use of Flash Video.  I’ve created a course video for you, here, which will give you a few things to think about when reading these.  I’ve also posted a facsimile of the original 1633 published text of “Easter Wings”, a very short poem by the 17th century poet George Herbert.   I’ve uploaded it to the files section of our ELMS course site.  The course video explains its connection to the works we’re reading this week.


Selecting one of the pieces of electronic literature we read this week, consider in your blog post some of the ways that it works with existing expectations that readers bring from their experience of reading literature in print. How does it undermine those expectations or redefine the possibilities for what literature might be? Consider in particular this quote from the opening of the essay on electronic literature we read by Katherine Hayles, but also feel free to bring in other aspects of what she discusses, along with your own thoughts:

“Readers come to digital work with expectations formed by print, including extensive and deep tacit knowledge of letter forms, print conventions, and print literary modes. Of necessity, electronic literature must build on these expectations even as it modifies and transforms them. At the same time, because electronic literature is normally created and performed within a context of networked and programmable media, it is also informed by the powerhouses of contemporary culture, particularly computer games, films, animations, digital arts, graphic design, and electronic visual culture. In this sense electronic literature is a “hopeful monster” (as geneticists call adaptive mutations) composed of parts taken from diverse traditions that may not always fit neatly together.”

In answering this question, as always, take particular care to locate specific, citable evidence of the claims you are making about the work in question.  Some items you might consider are:

– If this is a kinetic text, how do the text/images move?  What meaning is evoked by the movement?

– Does the movement amplify the text’s meaning or create contradictory or other interpretive possibilities?

– If textual elements are static, why do they seem to be?

– What parameters have been established for the reader/user?

– What is the role of the reader/user in the text?  What agency does the reader/user find in their interaction?

– How is the textual responsiveness / irresponsiveness significant?

– What is the relation between the aural and visual components?

– What do the aural components contribute to the text?

– How is the resulting work shaped by the tools used to create it?



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