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New Media: Its Utility and Liability for Literature and for Life Joseph Tabbi PREFACE Beginning with the title, a variation on Nietzsche's "Use and Abuse of History for Life," this paper offers a practice-based theory of how new media writing and traditional prose scholarship might converge. The essay itself will be in the form of a literary remix. Hence, the author's own sense of the affordances and constraints of new media will be conveyed primarily through the words of Nietzsche as well as selected works of critical writing in and about new media. One of the essay's themes is already evident in the essay's derivative form - namely, that the only way that literature can in fact "afford" to work in and around new media is to identify its enabling constraints, and to work through them with the selfconsciousness and potential for collaborative thought that has always been present in prose fiction in print - but needn't be unique to that medium. FORWARD "Incidentally, I despise everything which merely instructs me without increasing or immediately enlivening my activity." These are Goethe's words, cited by Nietzsche and translated by Ian Johnston of Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC, Canada (XHTML markup in March 2005, accessed in the Spring of 2011). The translation, unlike Nietzsche's citation in the nineteenth century of an author from the previous century, is available online with links to explanatory notes. With them, as with all seamless web productions, our consideration of the worth and worthlessness of

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