McSweeney’s and the act of framing: The digital excerpt between work and marketing | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1601-829X
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0586



The rise of digital media and technology has game-changing effects on literature and publishing. Among other things, our contemporary period is seeing a remarkable increase in the marketing activities surrounding literature, authors and publishers in which digital media platforms play a significant role. As a result we have witnessed a proliferation of digital as well as print texts in general – and of new digital text formats and labels in particular. A distinct aspect of the new digital formats is that the texts are often ascribed to other texts while at the same time being presented to the world as separate entities. But what status should we assign to these texts that are at the same time detached from and attached to other texts? Should they be regarded as texts in their own right, as paratext or merely as products of marketing? Based on an analysis of the McSweeney’s iOS app, this article will suggest that Jacques Derrida’s idea of the frame (e.g. the frame of a painting) as a parergon can be applied to the digital excerpt of a novel and other varieties of so-called ‘extra material’ in order to identify the function of these particular proliferating texts as something in between artworks in their own right and products of marketing.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): app; marketing; McSweeney’s; paratext; parergon; publishing; text excerpt
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