By Jamie Cue
The new, somewhat controversial, form of literature has now arrived under the uncreative term of electronic literature or e-lit. However, unlike most modern technologies, it has not been accepted with open arms. It may possibly because of the rise of amateur work found on the Internet, or maybe because it is new and freely available.
In the technological age, people have begun to experiment with technology in a variety of ways. The amateur video broadcasting site YouTube has become a giant hit with young people around the world, consequently creating an overwhelming amount of amateur “art” on the Internet, and not only “art”, but well-accepted “art” with some stories ending up on news. However, this may have had an effect on the unwillingness for people, to accept electronic literature. People, especially adolescents who have grown up in the digital age, are so computer literate that there is almost nothing they think that they cannot do, possibly even create electronic literature, leaving many people with the idea that e-lit is another form of amateur art.
Furthermore, electronic literature is found online for free. Although many sites do require an fee to access their collection of electronic literature, most do not have such requirements with authors just hoping to not only get their work, but also their name out there. Although e-lit being free may not have a major effect on people’s willingness to accept it, it may have an effect on its impression by the reader of it not being worth very much, holding the view that price represents how good/valuable something is. This puts it in the same boat as information that is available on the Internet and its de-valuation from being so free and available.
Although I found e-lit to be somewhat confusing and extremely irritating at times, I found myself hating it for the pure reason of it being new and foreign, but everything is foreign at one time or another. I think it is also the fact that e-lit has not found comfortable ground between the author and reader and has not gotten rid of all of the kinks in the technologies that allow e-lit to be possible. However, I have high hopes for e-lit in the future as it has grown on me enormously, it is a technology that needs time to prove itself.
With e-lit being a new form of literature with little economic value, at least at this point, is not what people are used to. When a new technology comes out it has a huge price to show its value, while e-lit is going in the opposite direction. However, this does not mean that e-lit will not become mainstream as some people think that the screen is the new page with reason. The telephone was not accepted as a technology when it was first introduced, as it thought it would interrupt the class system, and now it is surprising if any household is without a telephone or rather if anyone is without a cell phone. E-lit may never reach the importance or the acceptance of the book, but may have importance and respect in the future, possibly even reach the status of high-culture.