And you don't know how to look because you don't know the names." De Lillo's words orient us in the direction of the language-driven, social work that Tabbi argues for in his vision of a semantic literary web. Katherine Hayles opens the aperture more widely and the angle differs slightly as well.
Her electronic literature "primer" is a wide-ranging essay that takes the pulse of the e-literature field at this particular moment, reminding us that "literature" has always been a contested category.
Readers come to digital work with expectations formed by print, including extensive and deep tacit knowledge of letter forms, print conventions, and print literary modes.Digital technologies are now so thoroughly integrated with commercial printing processes that print is more properly considered a particular output form of electronic text than an entirely separate medium.Nevertheless, electronic text remains distinct from print in that it literally cannot be accessed until it is performed by properly executed code.Because this essay is the first systematic attempt to survey and summarize the fast-changing field of electronic literature, artists, designers, writers, critics, and other stakeholders may find it useful as an overview, with emphasis on recent creative and critical works.Thom Swiss, Professor, University of Minnesota The quote Joseph Tabbi employs from Don De Lillo for the epigraph to his essay is a helpful one: "You didn't see the thing because you didn't know how to look.