France remains one place where they take literary culture – and so its central element, the novel – seriously. People still read there. But that doesn’t mean that that country remains immune to the steady march of progress, which these days can only refer to consumer electronics and telecoms. In the French newspaper Le Figaro, Margaut Bergey surveys some recent innovations that threaten to redefine the very nature of what we mean by literature.
In part, the value-added from Mme. Bergey’s piece comes simply from the specifics she provides. I had vaguely been aware of a novel having been published wholly via Twitter, but didn’t know anything more specific. Turns out it was called The French Revolution, by Matt Stewart, and, sure enough, just over a year ago (starting on Bastille Day 2009, appropriately enough) it was “published” in the form of 3,700 tweets. Here’s that Twitter-feed’s site, but by this point you (together with me) are a bit too late: that particular collection of tweets constituting the novel is no longer available, so you’ll have to buy it from Stewart’s site here. (more…)