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Mapping digital literatureS: For a comparative approach to e-lit

8:30 AM, Thursday 16 Aug 2018 (1 hour)


This paper will present a project that proposes to compare digital literatures in a range of languages and cultures, including Western and non-Western traditions, in order to examine to what extent and how linguistic and cultural specificities continue to exist in the digital space, what boundaries may distinguish digital literatures from one another, and how these literatures interact with one another.

Scholarship on electronic literature has so far largely focused on how works use technology and are determined by it, with little attention to the role of their linguistic and cultural background. Yet a number of archives and collections show the growing proportions of works especially in Spanish, Polish, French, and German, and the works of migrating authors also often visibly carry the traces of their first language and culture. Moreover, a number of accounts have been published in recent years on the electronic literature of specific geographical, cultural, or linguistic spaces, such as Francophone electronic literature, digital literature in Latin-America, Arabic electronic literature, Polish, German, etc. While these always point out the importance of technology and international influences, they also testify to the fact that there remain clear differences in historical developments and emphases. The series of panels on linguistic and cultural specificities in the present conference also highlights the fascinating range of factors that can be considered and their relevance to e-lit scholarship.

A funding application is currently in preparation for a project including a series of conferences and publications that will allow us to develop a methodology for comparing and contrasting digital literatures considered in their plurality. By presenting the theoretical foundations and objectives of the project, the paper is also meant as a call for expressions of interest to participate in the project.

Lancaster University