PRESENTATION: Vulnerable Textuality in the E-Book Marketplace

March 22nd, 2014 Comments Off on PRESENTATION: Vulnerable Textuality in the E-Book Marketplace


The rise of the Kindle has marked the appearance of the first authorized e-books of many post-World War Two authors. As e-reading continues to grow in popularity, this allows a new audience to discover older works due to the affordances and availability of these e-books. Many of these novels, however, have not previously been digitized and are wrought by the negative traces of digitisation well known to academic and professional digitization projects although these are often not discussed within the context of traditionally published e-books.

This project assesses the vulnerable textuality of a single author on a single platform: Vladimir Nabokov’s Kindle e-books. Apart from posthumously published works, including 2008’s controversial The Original of Laura, most of Nabokov’s works were originally authored, edited and published at least 40 years ago, with some now approaching their centenary anniversary. The remediation of these texts is problematic and error-strewn, not only because the source versions, the Penguin mass market paperbacks have varied in quality, lacking at time forewords and indexes central to the fiction, but also because of the discrepancies with their corresponding print versions. The paper will read these errors and markers of print culture within the digital edition to demonstrate the complex forms of material textuality present in the Kindle.

“Vulnerable Textuality in the E-Book Marketplace.” Society for Textual Scholarship. March 2014. University of Washington, Seattle.

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