Kerstin Stiewe

Thema: Analyzing Digital Literature. The Analysis of (Crime) Fiction in the Digital Medium

Fach: Literatur- und Medienwissenschaft

Betreuer: Prof. Harro Segeberg

Status: Projekt abgeschlossen, Dissertation publiziert unter dem Titel "Analyzing Digital Literature. The Analysis of (Crime) Fiction in the Digital Medium " (Aachen 2011)



'Digital literature' is a term which combines two rather antithetic elements. In literary studies, the printed book is the most dominant and recognized medium. On the other hand, the presence of authors - and their literary texts - in the digital medium has increased in relation to the rapid development of the Internet during the past decades.

Digital literature itself is often regarded as a new genre without obvious relation to printed fiction. Thus the academic focus has been mainly on the novel aspects of this kind of literature, on its inventiveness and the possibilities it conveys to both authors and critics. This impulse has provided many relevant works and theories on which scholars dealing with digital media rely. Still, the more elaborate works of digital literature can also be seen and analyzed within the current literary canon.

In order to analyze digital literature, or any kind of fiction published in the digital medium, one needs to look at the components of the works in question. Not only the literary aspects have to be taken into account, but also the technical features, which inevitably belong to digital literature.

In this book, a 5-component-model for the analysis of digital literature has been developed, based on the theoretical work already in existence. The model has furthermore been applied and tested in a thorough analysis of two examples of digital literature which belong to the genre of crime fiction, namely Fibonacci's Daughter and Spätwinterhitze.

When dealing with this special form of digital literature, one can not only refer to the printed predecessors, e.g. the storytrail-books, but also to the long tradition crime fiction has experienced. Regarding the main characteristics of the latter - suspense, working out problems and following different trails set by the author - its presence in the area of digital literature does not come as a surprise.

Therefore it is also important to analyze how crime fiction has developed so far, including literature and film studies, and how it presents itself in the digital medium.

The synthesis of 'old' and 'new' media, of tradition and innovation and that of common literature and literature presented in a novel way, are the main topics of this publication. This also means an interdisciplinary combination of fields which do not seem to have much in common at first glance. However, the interdisciplinary approach which is the basis of this book has revealed that a number of parallels and connecting factors exist. The 5-component-model which has been developed and put to practice illustrates this most vividly and points out the importance of working interdisciplinary, both in literary studies and other academic fields. Thus not only the linking of old and new media can be analyzed and described, but it also includes the connection of different sorts of disciplines in order to achieve a more thorough and multifaceted output.