e-Lit Resource
The Heuristic Value of Electronic Literature

Bouchardon’s paper, “The Heuristic Value of Electronic Literature,” discusses the potential of electronic literature as an opportunity to gain new insights into established approaches. Originally presented at the 5th Annual Digital Assembly Conference at the University of Florida, “Futures of Digital Studies 2010,” Bouchardon’s essay explores the limits and assumptions of several methodologies by simply applying them to electronic literature: narratology by way of Michael Joyce’s Afternoon: A Story (1987) (http://directory.eliterature.org/node/309), semiotics through Gerald Dalmon’s My Google Body (2004) and Jean-Pierre Balpe’s Trajectoires (2001), aesthetics via Sophia Calle’s Vingt ans après (2001), rhetoric by means of Lucie de Boutiny’s NON-Roman (1997-2000) and the anonymously authored Anonymes.net (2001), anthropology through Alex Mayhew’s Ceremony of Innocence (1997), and archiving via Talan Memmott’s Lexia to Perplexia (2001) (http://directory.eliterature.org/node/2) and Alexandra Saemmer’s Tramway (2003-09). The result of Bouchardon’s exploration is an open-ended discussion, a heuristic, which points to many intellectually intriguing potentials for the use of electronic literature. More importantly, Bouchardon returns from the various disciplinary interrogations to the question of the “literary” itself, pointing out that electronic literature “questions printed literature by unveiling issues hardly discussed by literary studies, among which [are] the materiality of the text and the weight of the technical device in every literary production and reception.” As Bouchardon notes, it is the “unveiling effect” of intermedial and interdisciplinary approaches that opens new opportunities for literary criticism vis-à-vis electronic literature.