Dancing with the Digital: Cathy’s Book and S.

Danuta Fjellestad


Discussions about the future of literature and reading tend to assume a paper/digital technologies divide. A similar divide between literary and media studies is entrenched as regards institutional structures and curricula. In reality, the relationship between literature and the Internet/digital media is much more ambiguous and complex. To explore some of these complexities this essay focuses on two print novels that “dance” with the digital: Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233 (2006), written by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman, and illustrated by Cathy Briggs, and S. (2013), written by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. While vigorously asserting the primacy of print (not least through their extensive appeal to touch), the novels nudge the reader to enter the digital world, prompting, among others, a re-thinking of the concept of the author and of genre classification. Self-consciously and cautiously, the paper proposes the term “web-augmented novels” to describe the type of texts that Cathy’s Book and S. stand for: the novels that offer a “bounded” reading experience, while acknowledging the Internet-saturated reality of today’s readers.


genre classifications, web-augmented novels, joint authorship, Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-823, S.

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