Hans Kristian Rustad sympathizes with Curtis White’s “latest word.” White diagnoses a crisis in contemporary literature in the “Amazonian” monolith dominating the online book industry. Still, Rustad questions White’s lack of attention to electronic literature. For Rustad, elit may “save literature from market-oriented book houses that evaluate books by potential profits.”
Yra van Dijk calls for a return to the text, for a criticism of digital literature that moves past foundational work on the new form and seriously engages with the work itself. In Roberto Simanowski’s Digital Art and Meaning and in the edited collection Reading Moving Letters, van Dijk finds a return engagement with deep meaning and with criticism as a site of intentional human experience, and not of heavy theory or machinic spectacle.
Serge Bouchardon and Davin Heckman put the digit back into the digital by emphasizing touch and manipulation as basic to in digital literature. The digital literary work unites figure, grasp, and memory. Bouchardon and Heckman show that digital literature employs a rhetoric of grasping. It figures interaction and cognition through touch and manipulation. For Bouchardon and Heckman, figure and grasp lead to problems of memory - how do we archive touch and manipulation? - requiring renewed efforts on the part of digital literary writers and scholars.
In an increasingly monolingual, globalized world, the second volume of the Electronic Literature Collection may just offer a map of the territory. The question the reviewer, John Zuern, poses is how do we navigate this terrain going forward?