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98. Vulnerable Texts in Digital Literary Studies

Thursday, 9 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Indiana-Iowa, Chicago Marriott

A special session

Presiding: John David Zuern, Univ. of Hawai'i, Mānoa

1. "Lossless Interactivity? Preservation and Adaptation across Meanwhile's Media Editions," Jeremy Douglass, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Jeremy Douglass's Annotation:
Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile is a complex interactive graphic narrative. Over the past two decades it has been adapted into and out of several different electronic and print formats: a singular hand-drawn poster, hand-copied ‘zines, a public hypertext website, a mass market print book operated by tabs, and an iPad app with zooming interface.

This paper offers a comparative, variorum approach to the media editions of Meanwhile as a case study: How do adaptations of electronic literature (both into and out of print) work to prevent losing the essence of the work? How do acts of preservation across media compliment and compete with material preservation within a medium? These may be the problems of the singular object, of print ephemera, of websites now only available through The Wayback Machine, or of closed-source apps – distributed for proprietary hardware platforms with short product cycles and limited battery lives.

What transcends each discrete challenge to preservation, archiving, and dissemination however is the through-line of vulnerability that affects what is preserved, changed, lost, or sometimes even rediscovered as Meanwhile changes platforms. These vulnerabilities are also in part self-perpetuating, as each subsequent edition acts to preserve the previous through changing its form, while simultaneously rendering the original obsolete.

2. "The Liminal Textuality of Comments in Code," Rachael Sullivan, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

3. "Close, Distant, and Curatorial: Responsible Reading in Digital Literary Studies," John David Zuern


  • Genre, Theory, Method – Electronic Technology (Teaching, Research, and Theory)

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