Recent essays


Visualising Networks of Electronic Literature: Dissertations and the Creative Works They Cite


Jill Walker Rettberg’s Visualizing Networks of Electronic Literature maps the fragmentary and dynamic field of electronic literature by analyzing citations in 44 doctoral dissertations published between 2002 and 2013. Applying “distant reading” strategies to the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, Rettberg identifies key works in the field, shifting genres, and changing approaches to scholarship.



In PAIN.TXT, Alan Sondheim and Sandy Baldwin explore the limitations of expression at the borders of human sensation. Derived from a dialog between Sondheim and Baldwin on extreme pain, this essay considers how one signifies intensity and another attempts to interpret that intensity, and the challenges this process poses for affect, imagination, and ultimately intersubjectivity. In keeping with the content of this piece, the two preserve the dialog format, recreating for readers a discourse on pain that never finds its center.

An Emerging Canon? A Preliminary Analysis of All References to Creative Works in Critical Writing Documented in the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base


Scott Rettberg’s essay, “An Emerging Canon?”, highlights the potential for macroanalytic approaches to literary study, specifically in the field of electronic literature. Through his study of the richly populated ELMCIP Knowledge Base, Rettberg analyzes the impact that specific works have had within scholarly and creative communities, and enumerates the potential benefits that this work might have for the preservation, study, and understanding of the field.

Nature’s Agents: Chreods, Code, Plato, and Plants


In “Nature’s Agents,” Lisa Swanstrom discusses the agency of objects operating within networks. Specifcally, Swanstrom addresses works which allow nature to correspond with humans in a shared environment, posing provocative questions about the idea of agency itself as expressed in an ecology of action.