Of Two Minds Review -- Contours: Hypertext Poetics

This section has 7 essays interspersed with more interstices:

is made up of, among other sources, Joyce's first letters to Bolter, the grant request for Storyspace, and various journal entries. These are the basis for Joyce's musings about interactive fictions and reader and author relationships. His skeptical tone in this essay is somewhat surprising given his more recent utopian writings.

Though this essay would have fit well in the pedogogy section, Joyce says it belongs here because of "its concerns with artificial intelligence (AI) and the academic discipline and profession of geography each are grounded in the genealogy of the writer's consciousness" (10).

was first published in the electronic journal Postmodern Culture under a longer title. It gathers strands from previous essays and crosses and recrosses theoretical ground to "weave the helix for a new argument" (11). Joyce goes on to say:

"The essay argues, as the whole of this collection in some sense does, that in the late age of print the topography of the text is subverted and reading is design enacted. Thus, the choices a text presents depend upon the complicity of the reader in creating and shaping meaning and narrative. As more people buy and do not read more books than have ever been published before, the book is merely a fleeting, momentary marketable, physical instantiation of the network. Readers face the task of re-embodying reading as movement, as an action rather than a thing, network out of book" (11).

was written originally as a talk for a panel called "Hypertext, Narrative and Consciousness." Joyce later revised and added to it for Richard Gess' edited collection called Perforations, a magazine-in-a-box. For Joyce this essay suggests that "the value produced by its readers is constrained by systems that refuse them the centrality of their authorship": "What is at risk is both mind and history" (12).

This essay continues the multivocal strands of conversation that wind through the final chapters of this collection. Here Joyce claims his clearest attempt to date at explaining his concept of contours and attempts to enact something like contours through engaging Weinbren's "interweaving multiple narrative streams."

Joyce says that this essay offers an "aesthetic of surrender" in the conflict between technology and passion, and "depends upon Helen Cixous's 'third self' and the 'betweenus we must take care to keep' as a way to sustain the necessary relationship in claiming for constructive hypertext a surrender of writer to reader (the writer who will be)" (13).

The final essay of this collection includes Joyce's meditations on print and electronic texts. "Print stays itself; electronic text replaces itself" and goes on to explore a new paradigm for hypertext that will allow the present reader "opportunities for capturing the figure of connections at its interstices" (14).