Abstract

A cyborg literature:  media hybridizations of the literary text

Our thesis aims at exploring, through the cyborg metaphor, the part of the contemporary literature which produces texts that are the fruit of a hybridization between books and hypermedia. The cyborg enables us to draw a parallel between the connections that exist today between books and hypermedia, and the relationships –made up of fears and fantasies, that people have with the technologies they create. Cyborg literature does not propose works within which books and hypermedia are opposed, but works born from the reunion of two material supports, thus offering a media hybridization of the literary text. New media have to be appreciated as a motor of evolution rather than as a threat. Indeed, contemporary literary and books have to take up the challenge imposed by new media. The book is at the core of our problematic. We have to consider it as a medium for text, a medium that is not neutral and that holds its own characteristics and potential. New media offer an opportunity to reevaluate the book in its material dimension which is no longer the only medium for text: our daily reading practices, between books and screens, prove it.

Studying books along hypermedia enables us to reconsider the technical nature of the literary text. We will analyze how materiality is highlighted by the modifications implied by media hybridization. Hybrid literary works are at a crossroads between two imaginative worlds: that of the book and that of the cyberculture. Through the study of the corpus, we will define a poetic of mediation, whose stakes will have to be discussed. We will elaborate a typology of the different connections that exist between printed texts and hypermedia and identify three kinds of relationships: adaptation, transmediation and representation. Our corpus of cyborg literature offers new combinations of different media which have an impact on textuality. We will study how technology, in its practical (media related) and imaginary dimensions, has an influence on poetic aspects. Our cyborg corpus belongs to a time when literature is going through a shift in media paradigm: from a culture centered on books to one centered on screens.

 

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