Electronic Literature as Comparative Literature
Electronic literature is Comparative Literature. It is born digital; it operates across multiple machine and human languages, and requires translation of these languages before it even reaches the human reader. It is procedural and computational and is processed across multiple platforms, protocols, and technologies in real-time, in accordance with the very real constraints and technical specificities of the hardware, software, and network configuration of the reader’s computer. What is presented onscreen – the artwork and poetic – is multimedia and multimodal. Combining text, image, sound, movement, interactivity, and design, such works challenge traditional disciplinary boundaries as well as genre categories. For these reasons and more, electronic literature requires its reader to read and think comparatively.