It's become a trope when talking about hypertext to mention that it is the technology which makes posssible the kind of writing post-modern theorists wrote about, sometimes in works (consider Roland Barthes S/Z ) which literally had to impose their physicality into the the texts they were writing/reading. Jacques Derrida said there was space, openings in the text that brought the entire authority of the text, its intent, or supposed intent, into question; to find that space took a formidable philosophic and linguistic crow bar on his part.

STORYSPACE, and Kolb's hypertext, acknowledge the space not only in titular cleverness, but in the way each space operates within the essays in Kolb's collection. They create points of entry, points of orientation, and points of departure.

Derrida's diference, of meaning being deferred, of spaces always opening up, even as language is used to explore a previosly discovered space, has been used--I think misused--to assert that all authority is arbitrary, that meaning cannot be discerned. If a meaning is articulated, that articulation is subject to deconstruction as well. In the absolute sense this may be true enough, but in a real way Kolb's work shows that this is not necessarily so.

Reading his work, aware of its use of space to create more space, of his use of links to link spaces, to create clusters, combinations, constellations of text, I feel myself slowly, leisurely, coming to a tenative sense of what this means for me. Deferring meaning doesn't mean the work is meaningless, or without meaning; it means simply that what it means depends upon the consensus I can reach with my own reading and Kolb's writing. A consensus that is in some ways like a healthy marriage--never fixed or certain, subject to change and growth, open to doubt and intractability at intervals, and sustained by not so much the tittilation of always being promised something new, but instead by the engagement that comes from being willing to struggle with not always knowing for sure and trusting that it will be o.k.

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Return to start of review of Socrates in the Labyrinth

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