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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Pissertation.

Ohoho, I am such a punner.

So, my dissertation has got to an odd stage. I rattled off 2400 words in just over an evening, and over the last three or four days, have added about 600-700 more words. I am just over half way towards the minimum word count. I sent my 2400-word version to the boyfriend of one of my closest friends. Her boyfriend is in the first year of his PhD, and he wanted to give it a once over, out of kindness and interest.

I just got his feedback back (back back. Just thought that sentence needed even more backs), and I am just awestruck. Each little nugget of feedback is like a chunk of gold! I know that it is worth an awful lot, but I have no idea how to make it into something useful. It's a shit analogy, but it kind of works in a way. He has given me lots of ideas for other people to read, and given me a heap of suggestions of ways to develop my argument. Any normal person would be delighted at this level of feedback and encouragement. I just don't know what to do with it! I feel like my argument is going nowhere, and I worry that I will be unable to salvage it. I can't change my title as it is too late, but I don't feel like I am addressing the titular themes at all...

Dan's mum asked me what my "opinion" on Electronic Literature was. Six months ago, I might have said it was "Innovative", "collaborative", that it "opens doors to new territory and modes of communication, yet unexplored"... However, when she asked me the question, the night before last, I had no idea what to say. Admittedly, it was a very open-ended question indeed, but really, I think my lack of coherent approach to her query was that I don't even know what to think anymore. It isn't as though the advent of the internet suddenly sparked cries of "Oh! Finally literature can be truly interactive and collaborative! We were trapped by books before! There was no way to express a sentiment through temporality or spatiality!" That wouldn't be true at all. My research for my dissertation, particularly in recent weeks, has shown me, if nothing else, that the tropes of electronic literature go way back to before computer technology existed. Bob Brown conceptualised the "Reading Machine" in 1930, and sought to revolutionise the way that literary works were perceived, as well as the way in which they were written. B. S. Johnson ruptured the idea of the linear narrative in the 'book technology' long before randomization and coding on a computer was used to create any artistic work. Cinema was used as an artistic and literary outlet for a century... I just don't know what I am doing anymore.

I am in the library, and this counts as serious procrastination. Back to work with me.

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