Future of eLit

Thomas Cole, Expulsion from The Garden of Eden (detail)

While Lori Emerson and friends explore eLit’s past and present, Talan Memmott and David Prater ask several prominent scholars whether eLit has a future.

The answers are not always as interesting as the questions, but some form a starting point for discussion. John Cayley emphasizes the role of language in “literature,” a highly defensible idea which seems to be in direct opposition to Hayles’ rejection of words as being essential to her idea of “the literary.” The easy way out of this problem might be a revised idea of what “language” is, such as the postmodernist’s idea of language as an empty vessel for projected and perceived meaning, but it would be an interesting debate nonetheless.

I would additionally love to ask the same (or a similar) group of scholars if there has indeed been a Great Fall in hypertext literature, or if it has simply changed forms. How do they feel economics factors into the present and future of the form.