Call for Papers
Special Issue: Explorations in Electronic Literature
Edited by Mario Aquilina and Ivan Callus
An entire epoch of so-called literature, if not all of it cannot survive a certain technological regime of telecommunications.
– Jacques Derrida, The Post Card
Is literature surviving? Is it not still electrifying? Might electronic literature be one form of its survival? Does electronic literature mark another stage in the evolution of literature or does it open a new, unprecedented paradigm for the concept of the ‘literary’? This special issue investigates electronic literature’s challenges to established conceptions of literature and literariness. The following will be irrepressible questions. How should authorship, creation and originality be rethought? Can we still speak of ‘literature’ when the letter becomes only one element in works which are characterised by kinetic, visual, ludic, and sensory dynamics? Can we think of the electronic (post-)literary also as an electronic post-letter? And how might this be countertextual?
The apocalyptic threat to literature implied in Derrida’s comment on ‘a certain technological regime of telecommunications’ has not come to pass, nor might we be expecting it to. There can be no doubt, however, that computing technologies and code (the digital affordances enabling electronic literature) can prompt fevered speculation on literature’s evolving futures and platforms. As a result literary criticism, too, changes. Long traditions of aesthetic, thematic and formal discussions of literature are brought into question by electronic literature, as is the meaning of reading more generally (never mind close reading).
However, discussions of electronic literature countenancing technological determinism risk ignoring genealogies of electronic literature founded in long traditions of combinatorics and generative (not quite algorithmic) rules. Is electronic literature, then, a manifestation of a potential always already within the literary rather than simply a technology-determined transformation in the literary? And if it is so, how do we conceive the temporal relation and notional continuities between electronic literature and print literature, for example? Do we speak of supplementation, supplantation, renovation, complementarity, convergence? All these terms seem unsatisfying – but why?
The editors of this special issue of CounterText welcome articles with a focus related to these and related points that explore the connections between electronic literature and the concepts of ‘literature’ and ‘literariness’. The following list indicates some other possible points of discussion:
- E-lit and new understandings of literary ‘value’.
- The humanist affinities of e-lit.
- E-lit and communal understanding of the literary.
- E-Lit and the expectation of originality.
- E-lit as a literature of the fragment.
- E-lit and the problem of the total work.
- Precursors of the electronic post-literary.
- The space of e-lit: where does e-lit happen?
- E-lit and literary criticism and theory.
- E-lit as literary criticism and theory.
- The role of the letter in e-lit.
- Code and literariness.
- Literariness and digital affordances.
- E-lit as a space where literature meets other art forms.
Potential contributors to the special issue may email the Guest editor, Mario Aquilina (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Ivan Callus (email@example.com) for further information. They may also wish to refer to the journal’s site for information about CounterText‘s style sheet (http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/count).
Submissions are to be sent as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org by 14thDecember 2015. Notice of acceptance/refusal will be given by February 2016. Final manuscripts incorporating editorial suggestions and changes will then have to be submitted by 28th March 2016.