For my next look at academic writing contrasted with “two-bit” vocabulary of writers of nonfiction, I explored the text of Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary by new media theorist N. Katherine Hayles. This was a painful reading experience, and dissecting it as I read to understand that pain was even more difficult.
I came to this book with excitement. The text, with accompanying CD and website promised to be a source of writing inspiration for me, and a great resource for helping me move electronic literature into the classroom. Published in 2008, I had hopes that it would address wonderful contemporary examples of new media literature; formerly most of the texts I had found on the subject, and examples of new media literature, were terribly dated, having been written in the mid 1990s when there was somewhat of a boom in the U.S. around new media literature but before technology allowed for much in the way of speed and multimedia elements like animated graphics, sound, music and digital type.
Sadly, however, this book began and ended with inaccessible passages like the following:
The subjectivity performed and evoked by this text differs from traditional print novels in subverting, in a wide variety of ways, the authorial voice associated with an interiority arising from the relation between sound and mark, voice and presence (Hayles 186).
In case anyone should think that I just pulled an overly academic sentence that would reflect my essay bias, let me share the sentence that follows the one above.
Overwhelmed by the cacophony of competing and cooperating voices, the authority of voice is deconstructed and the interiority it authorized is subverted into echoes testifying to the absences at the center (Hayles 186).
At least author Hayles managed to nail a triplet alliteration in that first phrase. Continue reading Part III: Two-Bit Words, Academics v Guerrilla Artists and Digitally Influenced Print Books