The Future was Then

It is inevitable that writing and literature will adapt and transform over time; the next adaptation will be in tandem with an emergent technology that will make reading easier, or create an interaction that isn’t strictly reading, or maybe we’ll just have app games that look like books to impress people. It might also be useful to identify works that were ahead of their time, works that have the architecture and complexity to be a natural fit in a world of hyperlinks, tags, apps, and instant cross-referencing digital fun. Here is a list of some works that might find a second life.

Tristam Shandy-  The author himself termed it a novel of “progressive digressions”- this was a man who needed the internet. It’s been said to have maintained its status as the most avant-garde novel ever written for a couple hundred years, so there is no reason not to refresh it’s weird majesty with new platforms.

David Markson’s Reader trilogy- “discontinuous. A collage-like. An assemblage”. The author’s (reader, writer, etc) own words to describe his own work within the work. Again, this will be the patterning of the internet brain, for better and for worse. Anyway, go get this and read it if you haven’t.

Infinite Jest- I should probably check to see if this has been done already before adding it to the list. It’s an obvious one.

Ulysses, Gravity’s Rainbow, Anything written in pre-modern English- These ones might be mostly links

Let Us Praise Famous Men- the words of James Agee and the images of Walker Evans, one of the finest artistic collaborations produced in America. It would be “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong”, but Joe Cocker is English, so that doesn’t count.

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