Electronic Literature

Electronic Literature by M. Gail Grant

I must admit, there is nothing I enjoy more than holding a physical book; the smell of the pages, the texture of the paper in my hands, and the traditional experience of reading brings me back to childhood. Long summer nights lying awake with the next Nancy Drew mystery in my hand left a lasting impression. However, times have changed, and with change, brings new experiences, technologies, methods, and mediums. The electronic literature market is here to stay as the written word is now available in multiple electronic platforms known as eBooks. Nonetheless, moving further into the digital world, I have found myself challenged and teetering on the edge of personal and professional growth.

My first semester in graduate school led me to take a Professional and Academic editing course. While expecting to learn traditional print line and copy editing, I found myself entrenched in a digital world where learning how to code HTML became my new every-day norm. Emotions have ranged from fear to panic, to irritability, back to fear, then again to panic, and finally, completion of my first electronic literature piece.

Cosmological Conundrums, a hypertext fiction electronic literature piece, combines artistic expression and scientific research into some of the most mysterious and unknown wonders of the universe; the more we learn, the less we know. The digital component of the literary work allows the viewer to move throughout the piece in a non-linear fashion, which is one of the many advantages of digital-based publications. Many pages offer a “hover-over” link that will prompt a pop-up box with additional information on the topic at hand. Finally, the electronic design offers viewers a multimodal sensory experience.

As someone that has been slow to embrace the multimodality of writing, my perspective has evolved to portray a much more positive outlook on what digital technology offers the artistic and expressive side of composition. I hope you enjoy the labor of love.

~ M. Gail Grant


Altmann, Gerd. Pixabay. 2019, pixabay.com/photos/digitization-of-library-electronic-3068971/.

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