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In class today we talked about what restrictions create the class “Literature.” We looked through a number of works from the site we all had to look at from last week: Electronic Literature Collection Volume One. One of the things we examined were what do all of the pieces share, or lack?

The main thing they all lack is real interactivity. While you can interact with many of the pieces, they are all crafted to the point where you can never actually leave the frame of the story or poem or whatever it is. Selection of content is a part of the literary process, though some of the pieces in the collection lack it. The question that I have to ask then is, if the author has lost control over what content goes into the piece, can they still claim ownership over it? Can it be called literature?

I noted a site where there is plenty of words, interactivity, and a narrative of sorts, The Human Brain Cloud. However, the content is user created. Could this really be called literature of any type?

  1. AnneWritersCabal on Monday 4, 2008

    You should check into a school of criticism known as “Reader Response” criticism. It explores the idea that the reader creates the meaning of the story. I’m sure you’ve had the experience where someone responded to your story in a way you did not intend. In other words, even linear narrative is inherently interactive.