Abstract

A prominent strategy in some of the most innovative electronic literature online is the appropriation and adaptation of literary modernism, what I call “digital modernism.” This essay introduces digital modernism by examining a work that exemplifies it: Dakota by Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries. I read this Flash-based work in relation to its literary inspiration: the authors claim that Dakota is “based on a close reading of Ezra Pound's Cantos part I and part II.” The authorial framework claims modernism’s cultural capital for electronic literature and encourages close reading of its text, but the work’s formal presentation of speeding, flashing text challenges such efforts. Reading Dakota as it reads Pound’s first two cantos exposes how modernism serves contemporary, digital literature by providing a model of how to “MAKE IT NEW” by renovating a literary past.

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