Annette Gilbert – Literature’s Elsewheres, On The Necessity Of Radical Literary Practices


The MIT Press, ISBN 978-0262543415, English, 432 pages, 2022, USA

Today’s literary genres are not so easily recognisable. More than ever, they are tied to the medium that houses them, and thus to different schemes, conventions, fragile infrastructures and new, evolving rules. These forms, or ‘practices’, as Gilbert describes them in this book, are not self-defining formats, but they “act, operate, negotiate and intervene” actively on the previously established forms. This study is concerned with the vast and slippery territory at the intersection of art and literature, with the diverse and experimental forms of what we still conventionally call ‘publication’. Despite the large number of works mentioned and discussed in detail (all from the 1950s to the present), Gilbert maintains an inner rigour in each chapter and section, focusing on some key unanswered questions about unicity, materiality, authorship and neutrality. All features of the publications are questioned: the published space, readability, timing of reading, authenticity, authorship and material properties, and the units (e.g. the pages) that influence the concept and structure the content. Gilbert is an expert on artistic and experimental publications. Her selection of curated and contextualised works is remarkable and makes it easy to call this book important and referential for publishing and media studies.