2nd Post: Navigate Your Way Through Electronic Literature

This week we were assigned two readings, with one of them providing greater insight to understand and reading electronic literature. Reading through Pressman’s article Navigating Electronic Literature (NEL) was both interesting and enlightening, as it helped me further understand more about electronic literature and how to go about reading it. Electronic literature is a genre I am still not fully familiar with, and this is possibly because it is so wide in variety. So reading Pressman’s article surely helped me better understand a little more about the second reading assignment for the week (Twelve Blue).

Reading NEL was indeed a treat. I am not completely sure yet to how many different types of electronic literature his methodology to understanding this genre can relate, but I still found it helpful anyway for basic-general knowledge. Throughout his article, he spoke of how important “navigation” is when reading works of electronic literature, which differ from traditional works of print literature. It is in fact an essential element that affects not only the way we read and interact with the text, but also how we come together to understand it as a whole (the full message). One of the types works used as example was that of hypertext literature. In this type of literature you can control the way you approach the narration of the reading through the various options of clicking image-maps (these have additional content that is threaded, and can be reached by clicking on a words, text, ect… ). He also talks about a little problem (or rather difficulty) that some readers might face when navigating electronic literature. This difficulty becomes apparent when readers are many times forced to find clues in identifying text or where to progress in the various maps and threads found in the literature piece.

After reading NEL, I was ready to start reading Twelve Blue (TB)byMichael Joyce. Upon reading the introduction summary of the work and story, I became more aware of everything that Pressman spoke about in his article. And as I started to read and continued reading, everything made even more sense. At first, I started the reading on the main page (or map). The first thing I noticed was a picture or image that had numbers (from 1-8). I started from number 1, and noticed that I was transferred to some random text. Then, experimenting, I clicked on different parts of the small image-map found to the left of the text. There I learned that there were a bunch of small boxes or squares that had threaded more text to it. Each of these squares took me to different chunks of text, which served as part of the story. And so I realized that it was up to me to progress with how I read these texts which were all part of a story.  I’m still not sure If I clicked the right threads which took me to different parts of the story or if I missed any. I most likely did, since the navigation aspect of reading this type of literature can provide you with a certain freedom, but also challenge you in how to progress with the reading.

 I do have to say that I enjoyed very much familiarizing myself more with this type of electronic literature. Interacting with the reading is something I am not used to doing, even with some past practice and experience in digital writing. And now that I think about it twice, I realize even more that writings on blogs or webpages are not necessarily electronic literature. They don’t come even close in complexity, even if sometimes you can find a link added to a text or word, to real electronic literary works which have various threads of maps and text built together to form the literary work.

One thought on “2nd Post: Navigate Your Way Through Electronic Literature

  1. Karel, that is a good point about differentiating between the different types of electronic literature. I think when I initially went into this class, I thought that e-lit was just whatever was written electronically, but I am seeing that isn’t the case.


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