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Echinox: Literature in the digital age

Echinox: Literature in the digital age

Publié le par Marielle Macé



Echinox Journal

Director Corin Braga

“Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca,Romania / Caietele Echinox

Volume 20/2011

Literature in the Digital Age

Coordinator: Mihaela Ursa

The present-day development, atextreme speed, of digital technologies open the field of literature andliterarity to new forms of literary practice. Just as well, comparativeliterature and literary theory are to rethink their themes, methods and concepts.Not only theoretical disciplines of literature are subjected to this kind ofalteration, but also literature itself, since critics, theorists and thereading public warn against „the demise of literature” in the digital age. Theclosing of the age of Guttenberg has instilled a very visibile anxietyregarding the end of poetry, the end on the novel, the end of theoreticalthinking as we know it. As an alternative to this Apocalypse of print, sometheorists, critics or artists have already found solutions of „escape”. Newforms of literary practice access digital resources and force the boundaries of„literature” to expand to visual, cybernetic, hyper-textual territories. Howwill comparative literature and literary theory respond to these new practices?Will the theorists and critics consider „old” theories fulfilled by the„empowerment of the reader”? Will they feel the need to forge new concepts andnew methods? Or will they seek entirely new perspectives to which traditionalmethods can be adjusted? Alternative conceptual and methodological discoursesemerge in present-day discourses on literature, springing from totallydifferent points of view. The expansion of literature beyond the paper-writtensupport and the expansion of digital media to the realms of literature engagewriters and researchers of the literary field in a rethinking of their owncreative identity and of their disciplinary approach.

We invite therefore proposalsrelated to comparative literature, literary theory, new literary practices inorder to chart and possibly evaluate the current state of area studies. We are not only interested in ameta-textual view, but in two specific levels ofliterary research:

1. The first level is that ofthe recent developments of disciplinary „upgrading”in the fields of comparative literature, literary theory, literary critics oreven media theory. Entirely new challenges present themselves to academicliterary disciplines. How does global expansion of information affect thedefinitions and concepts of our disciplines? Does network interactivity requesta re-appropriation of the writer-work-reader relationships? How are literarydisciplines altered by the migration of literature and fiction to mediasupports? Is there a movement of resistance to these media in literature andhow does it function? We hope for answers to this kind of problems, but wemostly encourage addressing them from as many points of view as possible.

2.The second level isinterested in the latest practices and alternative theories that do not yet belong to the paradigmatic, traditional description of„literary disciplines” or even to the classic concept of „literature”. Does„digital poetry” assume a definition, is there a digital novel and a digitalprose? Will poetry, novel, scientific discourse fundamentally change in thisage or will they merely adopt new forms to universal, timeless contents? Whereshould theorists of the novel or critics of poetry look for tools to definethese new genres or to dismiss them completely?

It is our hope that this researchwill bring together a community of researchers and artists with commoninterests, catalyzing their communication beyond the restrictive limits of thisincidental collaboration. Also, the number of „Caietele Echinox” entitled Literaturein the Digital Age could turn into the starting basisfor further, inevitable debate.

We expect your papers by Decembre31, 2010, in English or French, accompanied by an abstract and a few key-wordsin English.

Thank you,

issuecoordinators: Mihaela Ursa, Ph.D.


CorinBraga, Ph.D.