Bridging The Unknown : An Interdisciplinary Case Study of Paratext in Electronic Literature
Is part ofExamining paratextual theory and its applications in digital culture ; pp. 160-189.
Publisher(s)Information Science Reference, an imprint of IGI Global
This chapter presents a dual perspective on the paratextual apparatus of a work of electronic literature, The Unknown: The Original Great American Hypertext Novel by William Gillespie, Scott Rettberg, Dirk Stratton, and Frank Marquardt. Approaches from literature studies and information science are combined to offer qualitative content analyses and close readings of the table of contents, titular apparatus, comments hidden in the source code, and other paratextual elements, in relation to the narrative. Findings indicate that the work's paratextual content presents inconsistencies and contradictions, both in terms of the use of the paratextual structure and of the information conveyed. The paratextual elements are analyzed through the lens of Gérard Genette's theory, as outlined in Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation, in order to gauge their role and efficiency as identifiers, organizational components, and information providers, as well as their literary effect. The value of the theory as an interdisciplinary tool is also discussed.