Patchwork Girl Stands on The Shoulders of Shelley & Baum

PATCHWORK GIRL

Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl demonstrates how intertextual allusions are used as piecework in order to construct new literatures together from various sources of the past. Presented in hypertext format, Patchwork Girl uses intertextual allusions borrowed from canonical texts such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and L. Frank Baum’s Patchwork Girl of Oz to create a new work inspired by and in reference to Shelley and Baum’s works, reinterpreting their ideas and making them modern. The work of Patchwork Girl proves that literature has always been intertextual – writers have forever been influenced by other writers. We are all only standing on the shoulders of giants.

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Pry as a “novel”

nov·el  /ˈnävəl/  noun

1. a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.
adjective
2. new or unusual in an interesting way.
Poet Ezra Pound once wrote, “The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, or a discovery is of little worth.” The very word “novel” implies innovation; in fact, the first printed novels were thus named for their specific cutting-edge contemporary style of writing. The novel itself (which was different from the other books available at the time of their invention, which included but were limited to *mostly* Bibles, ancient plays or works of poetry, or books of science or history) has gone through many iterations over the years, evolving from Gothic romance stories of the 19th century to modern series’ and now experimental novels.
This work Pry, though it is digital literature, can be considered [a] “novel” by some, in the way that it is taking the tradition of storytelling via literature and “making it new” (“novel” here meaning new, as well as a book) .

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House of Leaves, V: Digital Annotation

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pg. 41: http://www.bounceapp.com/208967

For me, Danielewski’s work exemplifies the idea of multi-vocality and demonstrates it for readers in a variety of ways. I am most intrigued with the idea that we are “all standing on the shoulders of giants”; in other words, the idea that we reference authors of the past by reworking their texts or by embedding ancient characters and plots into modern contexts.

Many of the ideas in the book can be considered as echos of past authors. Myths are retold, ancient languages are translated, and authors are constantly referenced and cross referenced throughout the manuscript and footnotes. There is blatant evidence of Danielewski’s sources and inspirations, and it is clear that he leans heavily on works of the past. Continue reading