User Response Forum

NASSR '96 Seminar on Electronic Texts and Textuality

-User Responses and Discussion-

Organized and chaired by Bruce Graver,
Providence College

Please enter your observations or opinions about the panel as a whole, individual papers, or other user responses as a comment below, along with your name and e-mail address. Appropriate comments are appended to this page on a daily basis.

This page last updated on 10/31/96

William Ruegg's "Transformations" is fascinating: in it are contained the seeds of hyper-textuality's greatsest promise as well as its most terrifying implications. The shift from logic to analogy gives new life to a profession (litcrit) whose greate st triumphs have been products not of analysis but intuition and creative synthesis. The removal of borders--frames around the text, be they literal bindings or more figurative constructions such "body of work" (oeuvre), autobiographical de-coder rings, or genre-classification--allows the reader a chance to feel out the conceptual space of the cybertext (and the cyber-canon, with all of its radom associations) from the inside out, excercising the kind of knowing that doesn't flow from the head but, rathe r, vibrates in the ribcage. This is the kind knowing that has engendered chaos theory (and cyberspace is chaotic--like a nebula) and its outrageous and very cool insights: that you don't need a foundation to have structure, provided the micro/tele -scop e is close or far enough away, that even something like Western Civ. has a rhythm, a fluid formal predictability, that can be felt in the gut if not put on paper. As for subjectivity, however, Barthes would probably call the hypertext "beating a dead aut hor." If language is a system of self-referentiality in theory, cyberspace is self-referentiality in practice: the author is utterly effaced, the image/surface attains preeminence, depth dies. Thanks for viewing. Lance. (That's L-A-N-C-E M-A-S-S-E-Y: and these have been my thoughts).

Lance Massey
Southwest MO St. U.