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Abstract

In his article "Literature, Digital Humanities, and the Age of the Encyclopedia" Gunther Martens takes his cue from Robert Musil's novel The Man without Qualities in order to discuss the way in which literature relates to new developments in technology. Martens argues that it is useful to situate some of the fears accompanying literature's renewed (and debated) exposure to media and technology against the background of a similar discussions earlier: the historical perspective allows to identify and link three specific discourses underpinning the debate, namely: education, rhetoric, and the concept of the encyclopedia. The encyclopedia and encyclopedic literature comprise and announce such strategies as co-narration, collaborative authorship, and multimodality. Further, Martens elaborates on new conceptions of connectivity, conversity, and interoperability as hallmarks of transliteracy within digital humanities. Rhetoric figures as a powerful backdrop to the way in which digital humanities might be framed within the cultural history of the encyclopedia as a tool for organizing and visualizing knowledge.