Electronic literature occupies an odd space in the landscape of contemporary literature. Its emergence as a critical phenomenon in the 1990s was steeped in the discourse of rupture and radical newness: the future of literature was interactivity, and hypertext storytelling heralded what Robert Coover called “the end of books” (and, with books, “the traditional novel”). Now electronic literature is older than many college students. It is old enough to be institutionalized by the Library of Congress and the Modern Language Association—old enough that many of the technological platforms that housed first-generation works of electronic literature are obsolete. Moreover, electronic literature is often critically marginalized: if there are canonical works, they are likely to be thought of as canonical works of electronic literature rather than simply canonical works of literature. Literary works are increasingly born digital, but electronic literature itself needs a critical...

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