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Week 5   8 April                         

Proto-Hypertext Texts

There is a strong argument that writers, as far back as Sterne (Tristram Shandy begun 1759) but particularly modernist writers, like James Joyce, produced prototype hypertext texts. To use Barthe’s terms, such texts are ‘Writerly’ as opposed to 'Readerly' i.e. texts open to the reader's writing of the text/webs, proliferating of associations and interconnections.

We look at Jorge Luis Borges, ‘Garden of Forking Paths’
(Note.
Stuart Moulthrop cites this text as a legitimisation of the hypertextual writing enterprise). (In electronic reserve)

Exercise for Week 5

Outline how you would approach 'translating' the Garden of Forking Paths into hypertext. What choices did you have to make in this procedure. What difficult choices did you face, which choices will the reader face?

'In all fiction, when a man is faced with alternatives he chooses one as the expense of others.’ Borges, Garden of Forking Paths.

Borges never had Hypertext available to him but Garden foreshadows a network of diverging and parallel times.
The story ends suddenly Albert murdered by narrator.

If possible: See also p55 'Lottery' first page – analyse it in terms of Hypertext possibilities.

And p78 The Library of Babel first page

(What concerns me is the self-sufficiency of the texts – the absence of the outside world – hence a look at Topographical writings in a couple of weeks.)

Text: Labyrinths: selected stories and other writings, Jorge Borges in Special Reserve and on Electronic reserve.

 

An alternative you may consider as prototype hypertext is James Joyce.

David Bolter's The Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing (1991) discusses Ulysses and Finnegans Wake in terms of protypes of hypertext writing, as employing narrative strategies ‘too complex and too dynamic for the medium of print.'

Remember too? Darren Tofts in Memory Trade argues that Finnegans Wake as the original media theory book.

Remember Darren Tofts in Memory Trade argues that Finnegans Wake as the original media theory book.

What about a page from a note book Interactive Finnegans Wake Notebook Page. Maintained by Christopher Bjork. Prototype of a project to annotate and transcribe a notebook page (from VI.B.14) using HTML. http://www.mailbag.com/users/bjork/b1494.htm

IQ Infinity: the unknown James Joyce Maintained by Jorn Barger. Information on Joyce with much material on genetic studies, especially of Finnegans Wake. http://www.robotwisdom.com/jaj/index.html

Plus Jorn Barger's Finnegan's Wake project shows off some of the possibilities of the medium. It is an annotated version of one paragraph from Finnegans Wake (chapter 4, paragraph 1). The annotations were contributed by members of the Finnegans Wake mailing list in 1991. The amount of material contributed here is phenomenal - here is the information superhighway doing its best (or worst). A single phrase may produce twenty different and useful glosses; the complete project takes up 71K, or about 12 pages of text. It is available (together with the text) on Finnegan's Web http://www.trentu.ca/jjoyce/fw.htm

Michael Groden’s James Joyce's Ulysses in Hypermedia
http://publish.uwo.ca/~mgroden/ulysses/
(Have a look at James Joyce's "Ulysses" in Hypermedia, The Project's Prototype)

Donald Theall suggests the ideal reader of Finnegans Wake, blessed with ‘idealinsomnia’' should read aloud from the ‘hyperlinkisch’' text to get the full effect of sound puns as well as sight puns.

Jay David Bolter discusses Joyce and Woolf in terms of prototypes of hypertext writing, as employing narrative strategies ‘too complex and too dynamic for the medium of print.' ‘The surprising fact is that topographic writing in the space provided by the computer is a natural extension of their work.’[i] Such strategies I believe can be used to produce ecological texts in touch with the environment in its scientific guise, its experiential mode and art’s compulsive, self reflexive questionings. I argue that lyric poetry is unable to bear the complexities of ecological texts in a paper ‘Poetry as Weed: Invasion through Hypertext’.[ii]



[i] Jay David Bolter, The Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing, 1991, p132.

[ii] Delivered to ASAL 2000 conference, >