Blog 6: Electronic Literature


“Unlike a print book, electronic text literally cannot be accessed without running code” (Halyes). With this quote in mind, I feel that “Shy Boy” by Thomas Swiss is an accurate example a work that is “born digital.” There are many reasons why authors create digitally born works. In terms of “Shy Boy,” the reason is to evoke specific emotions. Swiss uses text animation such as fading and bold facing to set the immediate tone of the piece. The music that is used in the piece also affects the mood. Electronic literature like “Shy Boy” tends to break the mold of traditional still text such as a printed book or newspaper. By using text animation and sounds, electronic literature keeps the reader’s attention and connects with the reader more efficiently. The text in “Shy Boy” continues on with or without the reader and creates excitement. In a printed piece of literature, the plain text doesn’t ever movie or produce sound. It may provoke inner thought in emotion, but only if the reader continues to pay attention to the text. The reader’s mind can wander off at anytime and lose the connection. Electronic literature uses many tricks to keep your attention. For a piece of work to be labeled as “digitally born,” the work is created digitally. It cannot be reproduced in a physical form. That is another reason why “Shy Boy” is a great example. Electronic literature may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I feel that it really allows the reader to connect to the piece of work.


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