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ELO 2015: The End(s) of Electronic Literature

Motions in Digital Young Adult Literature

Ayoe Quist Henkel (Aarhus University)

Panel: Children's Electronic Literature 1: Readings of Touch-based Literature for Children
Tuesday, August 4 • 14:00 - 15:30 (Bergen Public Library)

The digital turn brings about not only changes in young adult literature considered as aesthetic artifacts and literary works but also changes in the perception and reception of the reader. Digital young adult literature is increasingly multimodal and interactive, and it integrates elements from game aesthetics. When young adult literature navigates between media, new analytical approaches are required to explore the way in which it operates among various aesthetic strategies and medialities and the way it affects the young adult reader. With this development it becomes essential to combine different fields of research, e.g. research in literature and media science; thus, the focus of this paper will be research in children’s literature in an intermedial perspective. The analytical approach can be either diachronic when the object is the study of how various aesthetic expressions (text, picture, sound, etc.) have been used to create the literary artifact, or the approach can be synchronically based when the object is studying the categories which cut across the aesthetic expressions with the aim of transgressing conceivable media specific borders, and the latter will be the focal point here. 

The pivotal point of this paper will be exploring how transgressing analytical categories, e.g. rhythm, sequentiality, time, space and dialogue with the reader, can shed light on the formation of meaning in a specific digital young adult literary work, i.e. Tavs (Camilla Hübbe, Rasmus Meisler and Stefan Pasborg 2013) which prompts different reading methods, paths, and types of interaction. The analysis will focus on selected analytical categories in order to explore the integration of various art forms and sensory appeals, viz. visual, auditory, and tactile modalities. In other words, the paper will investigate the ‘denaturalization’ of the reading process and it will attempt to investigate and offer analytical categories which can be used also by young readers so that they can become competent cross media readers of young adult literature in a digitalized and medialized landscape of texts. 

Theoretically, the presentation will be based on theory on digital literature and media (Hayles, N. Kathrine Electronic Literature. New Horizons for the Literary. Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press 2008, Simanowski, Roberto, Jörgen Schäfer and Peter Gendolla (ed.) Reading Moving Letters. Digital Literature in Research and Teaching. Bielefeld, Trancript Verlag 2010, Bell, Alice, Astrid Ensslin and Hans Kristian Rustad Analyzing Digital Fiction. New York: Routledge 2014) and theory on picturebook (Nikolajeva, Maria and Carole Scott (2006) How picturebooks work. New York: Routledge).

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