04-08 JULY 2007

Recent developments in digital and electronic media have stimulated new theoretical reflections on the nature of media as such and on the way in which they evolve across time. The aim of this conference is to examine how recent technological changes have affected the ‘old’ medium of literature.

Multimedial and interactive texts, digitalized archives, cyberpoetics, and technological innovations such as foldable screens: together these have influenced the production and reception of literature, along with the ways in which we think about writing and reading. These ongoing developments call for a critical examination both of the relations between literature and the new media, and of the relations between literary studies and media studies.

The concept of ‘remediation’ in our title thus has a double thrust. Firstly, it refers to the transformative exchanges between literature and the new media: how has digitalization affected literature as a cultural medium? Secondly, ‘remediation’ indicates a relocation of literary studies within the broader field of (new) media studies: how could literary studies profit from the various analytical tools developed in (new) media studies and, conversely, how could our understanding of earlier phases in the evolution of the literary medium contribute to our understanding of present developments? By working on both these issues, we hope to relocate the place of literature within the milieu of modern media networks and technologies, but also to relocate the aims and practices of literary studies within the field of media studies.

Main themes:

A. New technologies and literary practices – the state of the field: will literature continue to develop as a schizophrenic medium, a hard medium of printed matter and an unstable medium of electronic data at the same time, or will it fork out in one of two directions? How is digitalization affecting reading practices and the circulation of literary texts? What new forms of intermedial and multimedial literatures are emerging?

B. Literature and the new media – the longer view: what new light do recent developments throw on the history of literature as a cultural medium and, conversely, how might insights from the history of the literary medium contribute to our understanding of recent developments? How can literary history be rewritten in conjunction with such media technologies?

C. Media compatabilities and competitions: new media hardly ever completely subject and annihilate older media. Rather, the two tend to co-exist, each taking on different tasks and responsibilities (cf. film and the novel in the earlier twentieth century). At the same time, however, they often interrupt and compete with each other (cf. television and the digital in the later twentieth century). How can this duplicity or compatability and competition be mapped and analyzed, and which are the insights that such analyses might yield into media formations as techno-cultural formations?

D. Disciplinary relocations: will literary studies become a branch of media studies in the foreseeable future – and if so, how? Will literary studies profit from such a relocation and how will this relocation affects its objects and methodologies?