Extremely Online: The Internet and Connectivity in the 21st Century Novel

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2024

Though the Internet has been around since the 1980s, the “Internet novel” as a genre has only really emerged in the last decade or so. We can think of Lauren Oyler’s Fake Accounts (2021), Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking About This (2021), and Calvin Kasulke’s Several People Are Typing (2021) as notable recent examples. Each of these novels take as their topic the particular and peculiar confines of the digital world we live in. Lockwood has described this sensation as falling through a “long void that never reaches the bottom,” while Brandon Taylor claims that “the Internet Novel captures some of the weird Gothic horror that white people have come, by way of their new digital Calvinism, to accept as being inherent to digital life.”

While the above texts are usually seen as novels that revel in the online world’s tendency towards irony, gawking, distraction, polarization, self-reflexivity, and self-loathing, our panel does not wish to decide the style or form of the “Internet novel” in advance. We are interested in how contemporary novels question the role of literature in an age of constant digital connection, where any avatar or piece of (mis)information can be at your fingertips in seconds.


This panel aims to collect papers that explore the possibilities for the novel form in the age of the surplus connectivity of the Internet. We are seeking papers that address contemporary novels, though work focused on earlier iterations of Internet culture and digital technology are also welcomed.