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Digital Rhetoric and Poetics: Signify Strategies in Electronic Literature explores computational and media-based signifying strategies in electronic literature from the point of view of reading, writing, programming and design, with a focus on the rhetoric and poetics of heavily mediated, multi-modal digital artifacts. With the introduction of images, animations, audio, and the procedural into the area of literary practice it is perhaps no longer sufficient to consider electronic literature within the domain of traditional concepts of rhetoric or poetics. Signification in media-rich electronic literary work occurs across semantic and semiological systems, and technological paradigms. As such, it is important that both practitioner and scholar understand how these attributes of digital media operate poetically and rhetorically, how they facilitate and sometimes undermine meaning-making in electronic literature.

Throughout the text many of the complex issues around electronic literature are exposed, and through this reading strategies and potential avenues for new or alternative critical methods are offered. In its breadth of considerations, this dissertation provides a substantial overview of my research interests and involvement in the field of electronic literature for many years. In addition, the dissertation provides something of a chronology of the field from 2000 to 2011, tracing the evolution and emergence of different manifestations of digital rhetoric and poetics.


The web supplement includes links to online critical and creative references, as well as practical works undertaken during the dissertation process, working examples of artifacts included in the dissertation, and source code.