This month, ebr is publishing three essays, one riPOSTe, and one book review.
Anna Nacher’s “Gardening E-Literature (or, how to effectively plant the seeds for future investigations on electronic literature)” offers a glimpse into “semi-peripheral avant-gardes” that are more open than other fields of digital culture to decolonization, and not restricted to the Anglophone world. Exploring Scott Rettberg’s Electronic Literature (2018), she describes “planting the seeds for future research on e-literature” as a call for an intertwined, mutually aware, and diverse understanding and inclusivity of e-literature as it is practiced and studied in individual works, collections and communities, and institutions and infrastructures.
Drawing upon Anna Nacher’s use of a metaphor of permaculture and garden-based decolonialization, Kathi Inman Berens’ essay and riPOSTe to Nacher, “Decolonize E-Literature? On Weeding the E-Lit Garden,” questions the growths, rhizomes, and even potential walls—a troubling image in these political times—of e-literature, as they may be applied to what, where, and whom are included in our field. Through Berens’ exploration of conditions of data, piracy, and digital ethos vis-à-vis the phenomena of interactive Web 2.0, social media, and Flores’ “third generation e-literature,” the question of “what is e-literature” has necessarily grown—sprouted and flourished, to keep with the metaphor—into the questions: where is e-literature located? Where is e-literature being created? Who is writing e-literature? Who is included or excluded in e-literature?
James Corby’s essay “Genre Defining: Michael Lackey’s Conversations with Biographical Novelists” describes how Michael Lackey helped develop the genre of biographical fiction, or “biofiction,” and focuses on Lackey’s 2019’s Conversations with Biographical Novelists for its use of interviews with international biofiction authors to contextualize their work with personal information. Corby’s essay grounds Lackey’s biofiction in Georg Lukács’ theories of the historical novel, expanding it to consider the “different forces [that] gave birth to the biographical novel,” including consciousness, interiority, and individual human circumstance.
Janez Strehovec’s “Smart Technology Instead of Blood and Soil” is a riPOSTe to Leo Flores’ “Third Generation Electronic Literature” (first published in ebr in April 2019). Here, Strehovec draws upon his practice and experience as a new media artist to ground the theory of a third generation e-lit in the digital arts, net art, and the cinematic arts.
Greg Hainge’s review of Stéphane Vanderhaeghe’s Charøgnards (2015) merges the author’s use of dystopian fiction with Bernard Stiegler’s Age of Disruption, exploring the ways in which Charøgnards juxtaposes a reader’s sense of reality with narrational subjectivity. The effect is one of multiplicity of perspectives, augmented by the idea that the world now reads us via a universal digitization.
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Associate Editor and Director of Communications, ebr