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Literature in Cyberspace

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Author(s): Piret Viires

Journal: Folklore (Tartu)
ISSN 1406-0957

Volume: 29;
Start page: 153;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Cyberspace | Digital literature | Fanfiction | Postmodernism | Technology and literature

ABSTRACT
Contemporary society has become an information society and hence it makes sense to interpret various changes in the cultural sphere. Connections between computer technology and literature are one aspect of the complicated global set of problems in tackling the adaptation of texts with the media. The article focuses on what happens with literary texts in cyberspace, how they adapt to that environment, and it examines the forms of “cyberliterature”. The most comprehensive definition of cyberliterature derives from the concept of digital literature, i.e. literature created on the computer and presented by means of the computer. Trying to narrow the concept of cyberliterature, it can be characterised by certain computer-specific qualities: multi-linearity, different parts of hypertexts connected by links, uniting the written text with multimedia, interactivity etc. The second part of the article analyses a specific sub-category, one of the most intriguing border areas of cyberliterature – fanfiction. Fanfiction signifies texts mainly created as ‘pseudo-sequels’ to a book, comic strip, TV-series or film, and that are not written by professional authors but by fans. A separate section of fanfiction consists of texts written by aficionados of a pop or rock group – this is the case of “real person fiction”. Cyberliterature is part of a larger set of problems, the most general background of which is the increasing role of technology in our society. Other factors include the myriad opportunities that characterise the postmodernist cultural situation, the expansion of the concept of literature and the emergence of new forms of literature.
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