The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature

1st Edition

Edited by Joe Bray, Alison Gibbons, Brian McHale


544 pages

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
New in Paperback: 9781138797383
pub: 2014-09-26
Hardback: 9780415570008
pub: 2012-06-12
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203116968
pub: 2012-07-26
from $32.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


What is experimental literature? How has experimentation affected the course of literary history, and how is it shaping literary expression today? Literary experiment has always been diverse and challenging, but never more so than in our age of digital media and social networking, when the very category of the literary is coming under intense pressure. How will literature reconfigure itself in the future?

The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature maps this expansive and multifaceted field, with essays on:

  • the history of literary experiment from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present
  • the impact of new media on literature, including multimodal literature, digital fiction and code poetry
  • the development of experimental genres from graphic narratives and found poetry through to gaming and interactive fiction
  • experimental movements from Futurism and Surrealism to Postmodernism, Avant-Pop and Flarf.

Shedding new light on often critically neglected terrain, the contributors introduce this vibrant area, define its current state, and offer exciting new perspectives on its future.

This volume is the ideal introduction for those approaching the study of experimental literature for the first time or looking to further their knowledge.


"The editors of The Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature  have produced a marvellously wide-ranging, informative, lucid - and often highly original - discussion of experimental writing in the 20th and 21st centuries. From the historical avant-gardes to avant-pop, digital fiction and code poetry, this Companion will be an indispensable guide to new movements and to the intermedia post-generic verbal works that now people our literary landscape." Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University, USA

"Experimental, avant-garde, innovative…. the recent history of such terms has been confusing because they seem to blur into synonyms, to share family resemblances rather than strict definitions, and to indicate distinctly different things for different disciplines and genres. With a series of short accessible entries by the go-to authorities in a number of fields, this collection sketches the range of critical work performed by labels that have proven as necessary as they are elusive." Craig Dworkin, The University of Utah, USA

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Joe Bray, Alison Gibbons and Brian McHale Part 1: The Historical Avant-Gardes A. Modernist-Era Experimentalism 2. Italian Futurism and Russian Cubo-Futurism John White 3. The Poetics of Animism: Realism and the Fantastic in Expressionist Literature and Film Richard Murphy 4. The Surrealist Experiments with Language Peter Stockwell 5. The Literary Absurd Joanna Gavins B. Postmodernist Experimentalism 6. Spontaneity and Improvisation in Postwar Experimental Poetry Benjamin Lee 7. The Nouveau Roman and Tel Quel Danielle Marx-Scouras 8. Lettrism and Situationism Tyrus Miller 9. OuLiPo and Proceduralism Jan Baetens 10. Metafiction Ralph Berry 11. Postmodernism and Experiment Brian McHale C. Experiments with Identity 12. Sexing The Text: Women’s Avant-Garde Writing in the Twentieth Century Ellen Friedman 13. Experiments in Black: African-American Avant-Garde Poetics Aldon Lynn Nielsen 14. The Limits of Hybridity: Language and Innovation in Anglophone Postcolonial Poetry Priyamvada Gopal D. The New Experimentalism 15. Avant-Pop Lance Olsen 16. Post-postmodernism Robert L. McLaughlin 17. Globalization and Transnationalism Liam Connell 18. Altermodernist Fiction Alison Gibbons 19. Manifestos and Ars Poetica Laura Winkiel 20. Post-criticism: Conceptual Takes Gregory L. Ulmer Part 2: Experiment Now: Printed Matter E. Experiments with Language 21. The Expanded Field of L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E Charles Bernstein 22. Concrete Poetry and Prose Joe Bray 23. Found Poetry, "Uncreative Writing," and the Art of Appropriation Andrew Epstein 24. Words in Visual Art Jessica Prinz 25. Hoax-Poetry and Inauthenticity Philip Mead F. Experiments with Narrative and Fiction 26. Unnatural Voices, Minds and Narration Jan Alber, Henrik Skov Nielsen and Brian Richardson 27. Impossible Worlds Marie-Laure Ryan 28. Experimental Life Writing Irene Kacandes 29. "Rotting Time": Genre Fiction and the Avant-Garde Elana Gomel G. Experiments with Form and Design 30. Graphic Narrative Hillary Chute 31. Multimodal Literature and Experimentation Alison Gibbons 32. Information Design, Emergent Culture and Experimental Form in the Novel Steve Tomasula 33. Interactive Fiction N. Katherine Hayles and Nick Montfort Part 3: Experiment Now: Beyond The Page H. The Digital Age 34. Digital fiction: Networked Narratives David Ciccoricco 35. Code Poetry and New-Media Literature Steve Tomasula 36. Computer Gaming Astrid Ensslin 37. Virtual Autobiography: Autographies, Interfaces, and Avatars Amy Elias

About the Editors

Joe Bray is Senior Lecturer in English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Alison Gibbons is Senior Lecturer in Stylistics, English Language and Literature at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

Brian McHale is Distinguished Arts and Humanities Professor of English at Ohio State University, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Literature Companions

Field-defining volumes in new and exciting areas of literary studies. These volumes are ideal introductions for beginners, or handy volumes for those already working in the field: summarising current scholarship, whilst pushing the boundaries of emerging trends they are must-have collections.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory