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Cybertext : Perspectives on Ergodic Literature - Espen J. Aarseth


Perspectives on Ergodic Literature

Paperback Published: 11th September 1997
ISBN: 9780801855795
Number Of Pages: 216
For Ages: 18+ years old

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Can computer games be great literature? Do the rapidly evolving and culturally expanding genres of digital literature mean that the narrative mode of discourse -- novels, films, television series -- is losing its dominant position in our culture? Is it necessary to define a new aesthetics of cyborg textuality?

In Cybertext, Espen Aarseth explores the aesthetics and textual dynamics of digital literature and its diverse genres, including hypertext fiction, computer games, computer-generated poetry and prose, and collaborative Internet texts such as MUDs. Instead of insisting on the uniqueness and newness of electronic writing and interactive fiction, however, Aarseth situates these literary forms within the tradition of "ergodic" literature -- a term borrowed from physics to describe open, dynamic texts such as the I Ching or Apollinaire's calligrams, with which the reader must perform specific actions to generate a literary sequence.

Constructing a theoretical model that describes how new electronic forms build on this tradition, Aarseth bridges the widely assumed divide between paper texts and electronic texts. He then uses the perspective of ergodic aesthetics to reexamine literary theories of narrative, semiotics, and rhetoric and to explore the implications of applying these theories to materials for which they were not intended.

"In many respects, this is the book I and many others have been waiting for. I have not seen any work so comprehensive in its synthesis of previous commentary. Aarseth's brilliant observations remind me of McLuhan's 'probes' -- highly condensed, provocative statements meant to generate controversy and insight. This is clearly the best study of electronic texts I have yet read." -- Stuart Moulthrop, University of Baltimore, author of Victory Garden

Industry Reviews

A book that critics and researchers in the field cannot easily ignore. * Svenska Dagbladet *

Introduction: Ergodic Literaturep. 1
Paradigms and Perspectivesp. 24
Textonomy: A Typology of Textual Communicationp. 58
No Sense of an Ending: Hypertext Aestheticsp. 76
Intrigue and Discourse in the Adventure Gamep. 97
The Cyborg Author: Problems of Automated Poeticsp. 129
Songs from the MUD: Multiuser Discoursep. 142
Ruling the Reader: The Politics of "Interaction"p. 162
Conclusions: The Ideology of Influencep. 178
Referencesp. 185
Indexp. 197
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780801855795
ISBN-10: 0801855799
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 216
Published: 11th September 1997
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.9 x 14.5  x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.25