Questions about Form and a Love of Digital Literature

In examining my posts over the course of the semester, I found that I was particularly interested in the intersection between form and content in digital literature and how the affordances of digital environments contribute to storytelling.  Regardless of whether I felt that the environment helped or hindered the story, each new work of digital literature revealed something new and interesting about the potential for storytelling in a digital age.

In my posts on “Dakota” and Ice Bound, I lament the difficulty I had with experiencing those works due to elements of their digital environments.  Despite the difficulty in reading them, I think I unintentionally learned a lot about electronic literature with those two works.  On “Dakota,” I wrote, “‘Dakota,’ to me, called into question our entire practice of reading poetry.  ‘Dakota’ suggested that the way we’ve been taught to read – slowly, deliberately, and carefully – is limiting.  Not all works are meant to be experienced that way.  For ‘Dakota,’ the form is just as important as the content.  The stark contrast of the black flashing text and white background, the frenetic drum beat, the anxiety a reader feels when she can’t keep up with the text are all as integral to the experience of reading ‘Dakota’ as the text itself.”  Having trouble reading “Dakota,” while frustrating, was in fact very instructive and made me question poetry as a whole.  The tension between form and content of that work in particular invited me to adopt a more open-minded perspective on what qualifies as literature and how best to read it.

In reading “Dim O’Gauble” and “Perfect World,” I was also interested in how form and content intersected.  I felt that the glitchy interface of “Perfect World” and the unsettling imagery of “Dim O’Gauble” helped to tell a story and communicate a message far more effectively than they could’ve done solely in print.  In looking back over my posts, I find that I was almost always excited about the new storytelling potential of digital environments.  I loved how electronic literature provided more opportunities to render a tone, theme, or story than traditional print literature.  Discovering all the different ways digital environments could contribute to storytelling was one of the most interesting and rewarding parts of the semester.

Unsurprisingly, I was generally excited about digital environments and the Internet as a whole.  “I confess that I adore the Internet,” I wrote in my post on “Hana Feels.”  This love of the digital pervades most of my posts.  Whether expressing my appreciation of the Internet in telling untold stories such as “Hana Feels” or commenting on the sublime nature of Wikipedia, I noticed a constant excitement about the digital world.

In looking back over my posts, I found them to be overwhelmingly positive and excited about the opportunities provided by digital environments.  This class was in many ways a perfect fit for my interests.  In literature and art, I tend to be fascinated by the new, innovative, and unusual.  We certainly read a lot of works in all three of those categories over the course of the semester, and I think my excitement about them is quite evident from my blog posts.

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