writing under constraint
In response to Mencia, Pold, and Portela, Belgian poet and scholar Jan Baetans suggests that we might view the field of trans-medial literature as an offshoot of translation studies (and not the reverse). In any case, whether we approach e-lit from a medial or linguistic standpoint, scholars do well to observe a "merger of translation and adaptation studies."
Brian Lennon considers the aesthetic that Retallack has evolved out of a cybernetic sensibility - a formalism that does not impose authoritarian codes or repressive orders, but rather hacks a pattern out of the sheer data of everyday life: directories, menus, phone books, indexes, encyclopedias, and archives.
Maria Damon reviews Alan Sondheim's Writing Under: Selections from the Internet Text in light of the literature of John Fahey to demonstrate that those texts, like her performative review of them, enact a "mastering/dismantling itch twitch" that has a "life of its own, moving through the artist in a parasitic way."
Abish's Alphabetical Africa is pondered here, in a critifiction by Louis Bury. Bury's text is written - like the novel itself - under constraint: each critical query begins with a new letter of the alphabet. Culminating in "Zeugma," the essay explores the poetics of Abish's linguistic experiment from somewhere close to the inside. (Doug Nufer's Negativeland gets a similar - though more subtle - treatment in another Bury piece.)
Examining Doug Nufer's Negativeland, a constraint-based text, Louis Bury adopts the same constraint as the novel - an approach NOT dissimilar to his treatment of Abish's Alphabetical Africa. In this case, the constraint is a prohibition against sentences lacking "some form of negation" - a commitment not unlike the affirmation of negativity.
Kiki Benzon and Mark Z. Danielewski discuss his 2006 book Only Revolutions at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto.
Pinocchio’s Piccolo, or, How Tristram Shandy Got It Straight: Searching in Raymond Federman’s Body Shards
Michael Wutz writes of how, in Raymond Federman's My Body in Nine Parts, body parts are represented as having registered, inscribed, contributed to Federman's life.
Michael Boyden reflects on the stubborn and idiosyncratic fiction of Harry Mathews and introduces a new ebr gathering of work on and by Mathews.
Michael Boyden interviews Harry Mathews via email.
This is a reprint of Mathews' short story which originally appeared in The Human Country: New and Collected Stories (Dalkey Archive 2002).