Electronic literature is a constantly changing field.
Many authors recognize the feeling of being "lost" in a digital text, and try to exploit it for artistic effect. In other cases, it's necessary for the user to confront the discomfort that comes from being "lost" and overcome it, just as we have to accept commercial breaks on TV, the lack of pictures in novels, and the omission of whole subplots when a book is made into a movie.
The following exercise, which involves reading four literary and one critical work, and writing two short blog entries and one longer hyperlinked essay, is intended to give some structure to your encounter with electronic literature.
- Explore for 30 minutes.
Choose four items from the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1. Interact with each for 5-10 minutes, and record your reflections in a brief blog entry.
- Investigate for 30 minutes.
Of the four items you chose, select one to interact with for at least another half hour. (If the text is short and you exhaust it before time is up, go on to another item.) Record your more detailed experiences in a separate blog entry. (Include a link to the items you chose to investigate.)
- Engage for 30 minutes. Keeping in mind these encounters with electronic literature, read "Is Hypertext Fiction Possible?" (George P. Landow), and return to your electronic literature selections for further reading as necessary.
Write Ex 2-3, a richly-linked blog essay (roughly 750 words) that records your reactions. Because your first two blog entries will likely record what it felt like to encounter these texts and make them reveal their literary content, this essay should move beyond "It was fun" or "It was boring" and instead discuss the works themselves. (See this handout on "Close Reading").