Welcome to the 15th anniversay HJS issue, commemorating the journal's 20 years of existence.
For the uninitiated, hypermedia and literary studies do not seem to go hand in hand. Hypermedia is not even the most used phrase when connecting technology with literature. 'Hypertext' stands out in that regard. The original coinage of the word 'hypertext' has been mentioned before in this journal, as having come from Ted Nelson in 1965 and been developed to denote "non-sequential writing-text that branches and allows choices to the reader, best read at an interactive screen. As popularly conceived, this is a series of text chunks connected by links which offer the reader different pathways." (1) Yet considering hypertext today, one of his later quotes has more bearing on the nature of Joyce and what can be done with hypertext. Nelson writes "Everything is Deeply Intertwingled. In an important sense there are no 'subjects' at all: there is only all knowledge, since the cross-connections among the myriad topics of this world simply cannot be divided up neatly...Hypertext at last offers the possibility of representing and exploring it all without carving it up destructively. "(2) This quote is more appropriate for a couple of reasons. The emphasis on "all" knowledge fits well with the notion that in Joyce's writing there is an entire universe, a universe in which everything that can be written has already been written. This uncanny property of Joyce's writing was given its perhaps most fitting expression in Jacques Derrida's plenary address at the 1984 Frankfurt symposium, "Ulysses Gramophone: Hear say yes in Joyce," as well as in his essay on Finnegans Wake, "Two Words for Joyce."(3) Here, the operations of Joyce's texts are likened to that of a "1000th generation computer" or "hypermnesis machine," and their effects are:
admirable and terrifying, and sometimes of intolerable violence. One of them has the following form: nothing can be invented on the subject of Joyce. Everything we can say about Ulysses, for example, has already been anticipated, including, as we have seen, the scene about academic competence and the ingenuity of metadiscourse.(4)
This too, holds for criticism: "The perhaps defining peculiarity of Joycean scholarship is its awareness of its own presence already in the text, of its coming not from the outside, but somehow generated from, solicited by, the Joyce text which always already includes, as it were, its own theory."(5)
But the word "intertwingled" is what draws out this quote as most significant to both hypertext and Joyce. First, there is the simple fact that Nelson actually offers something outside of the Joycean universe. The word "intertwingled" is nowhere to be found in Joyce's writing. It is surely a portmanteau Joyce would have appreciated. And it helps to understand Joyce's writing, and the body of criticism in hypertext/hypermedia studies. By mixing "intertwined" and "intermingled," Nelson brought threads and people together. Merriam Webster defines intertwine in two ways: "to twist (things) together" and "to be or become very closely involved with each other." Looking more closely at the origin of the word, the old English tw?n literally means a "double or twisted thread." The idea of threads conjures images of Penelope at her loom, Molly with her knitting needles, the fine silk of a hat, "hybreds" and "jewGreeks" all the way to the "Crossmess parzel." The doubling of threads matches nicely with the multiple perspectives Joyce offers of characters, from Stephen to Lenehan, Mulligan to Boylan, Leopold and Molly. "Mingle" brings up something social, "to move around during a party, meeting, etc. and talk informally with different people." The idea of characters gallivanting through Portrait and Ulysses, dreaming in Wake, touching on mutual philosophies and ideas is one that reflects nicely on the world of literary criticism, where thinkers coordinate on projects and jump from thought to thought, almost as if one interaction leads headlong into a world. The social aspect of "intertwingled" is significant to hypertext studies in another way, as hypertext has allowed for a greater democratization of Joyce's texts. Since the start of this journal, several significant copyright dates have passed with respect to Joyce's texts, the most recent being the end of Joyce's EU copyright on January 1, 2012. Now there are multiple websites with annotated versions of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake which allow students and intrepid readers far more access than ever before. There is even a website, http://www.waywordsandmeansigns.com/, that has brought together numerous artists to render the chapters of the Wake aurally. Now more than ever the reading of Joyce's works is truly a social endeavor.
"Intertwingled" also has a rather indirect but funny connection today. It is hard to look at "twingle" or even more simply, the 'twi,' and not think of Twitter. James Joyce is on Twitter, and has been for some time. He can tweet Nora Barnacle as often as he pleases, though the content may be restricted from time to time. The connection to Twitter is not simply a humorous one though; the features and functions of Twitter probably best represent what the world of hypertext has spawned. While there is a limiting parameter to the application, those 140 characters, the ability to identify thematically, categorically, ironically (and so many other adverbs) or whatnot, the particular message developed to be shared opens the comment up to an entire universe of reception. In some ways much of literary criticism centers on a limited number of quotes, which in turn are unfolded, explicated and shared in such a way as to create that very universe. This largely parallels the aforementioned point of the overlapping characters and their ideas.
"Intertwingled" with respect to Joyce's works emphasizes more than anything that what Joyce has done is not just create a universe, but a universe where things interact with each other always-that characters come and go just as much as critics and schools of thought do. Stuart Moultrop summarizes Nelson's thoughts on this nicely, writing "At the kernel of the hypertext concept lie ideas of affiliation, correspondence, and resonance. In this, as Nelson has argued from the start, hypertext is nothing more than an extension of what literature has always been...a "temporally extended network of relations which successive generations of readers and writers perpetually make and unmake."(6)
This edition of the journal celebrates 20 years of Joyce and Hypermedia studies. The essays selected for this edition were chosen on the basis of how much they connect to this idea of "intertwingled," or the extent to which they combine common threads of early hypertextual studies and extend them, or play off of each other. The first two essays, by Darren Tofts, look at both the poetics and effects of modern media technologies in Joyce. "'A Retrospective Sort of Arrangement': Ulysses & the Poetics of Hypertextuality" (looks at hypertextuality as a kind of textual poetics that Joyce employs, though Tofts weighs this carefully and ultimately develops the idea of "cybertext" to be considered when reading Joyce. The second essay, "Where Are We at All? & Whenabouts in the Name of Space?," looks at the ways modern media technologies, both present (television) and future (the internet) vis-?-vis Joyce's time, illuminate from within, or cast light back on, the complex mimetic operations of the Wake. In this essay Tofts actually addresses Nelson's "intertwingled" and compares it to the Wakean "nightmaze" (FW 411.8). Finn Fordham's "The Writing of Growth and the Growths of Writing" A Genetic Exegesis of Finnegans Wake 503.30 - 505.29" looks at the genetics behind Finnegans Wake and climbs into that tree that Joyce developed from his materials printed in transition. Fordham looks at several particular branches, lines and phrases the Wake, and finds similarity in a number of cases and a great deal of expansion in others.
Just as the first group of essays comprises broader views on hypermedia and the textual beginnings of Joyce, the second homes in on systems in Joyce's writing. Mary Libertin finds the movement of Ulysses largely governed by synecdoche, something that leads her to Jakobson, his concept of asymmetrical markedness and his idea of "split reference." Ultimately, in her essay "'Two Planes Joined': The Turn of the Screw of Synecdoche in James Joyce and Roman Jakobson," she shows how the synecdoche in "Circe" and that in "Scylla and Charybdis" episodes overlap with planes of linguistic analysis in Jakobson. For Bahman Zarrinjooee, the language of the Wake is affected by the reader just as much as it has some influence on them. In "James Joyce's Finnegans Wake: A Universal Culture" he finds that the text "is moving in an indeterminate network of meanings or in the plurality of cultural codes, unhinging all the borderlines which might limit the readers." Thus the reader's experience, knowledge and understanding and conceptualization of the world shaped and are shaped by the Wake. In "Logodaedalian Bypaths: Evading the Obvious" Fritz Senn looks at how Joyce takes normal utterances and turns them into verbal events, starting rightfully from Buck Mulligan and then going into a deep discussion of the many approaches of Lenehan. Lenehan's use of everything from palindromes to puns and even a limerick are detailed, with specific attention paid to the phrase "that takes the biscuit." Senn follows Lenehan's biscuits, from his desire for some in "Two Gallants" to the "Aelous" episode and even the Wake. Jesse Chase's experience and understanding of soundscapes, with some grounding in Guattari and Delueze rhizomes, inform his look at Ulysses in "Illustrating Techno-Poetic-Scapes: Acoustmatic Rhizomes behind Ulysses' Text." With a spectrograph and a look at Lotis's Maypole of Textural Value, Chase delves into the realm of gestures and sound, ultimately trying to find what is behind the words and music of the text, to what extent different streams (figures, sounds) integrate and segregate. He seeks a kind of structural rhythm to Ulysses using Electro Acoustic (EA) aesthetics to draw connections between Deleuzian/Guattari rhizomes and Gendlin's "focusing."
The next cluster of essays focuses on Joyce's various influences, the catalogues or databases to his writing machine. Steven Bond's "V.I.T.R.I.O.L. Joyce's Hermetic Acronym" looks at the contested suggestion that Joyce inherited, if at all, something of the mystical that influenced a number of his predecessors. Bond contributes to discussion of the expanding web of mystical allusions in Joyce's works with an extension of Nick De Marco's research, looking not at The Corpus Hermeticum but the second core Hermetic work, the Emerald or Smaragdine Tablet. Fritz Senn follows the imperative "Catalogue those books" from the "Ithaca" episode in his essay "Notes Towards Joycean Cataloguing" and looks at some of the peculiarities of Bloom's library. As much as he follows particular books, like Thom's Dublin Post, Senn continues in the essay to look at catalogues as presented by the characters and in various chapters of the novel, how they serve to help the reader's memory but also the book's own memory. Following Fritz Senn's look at catalogues in Ulysses is an essay that looks, through one of the many backhanded compliments that is thrown at him, at the cultured nature of Leopold Bloom. In "A Cultured Allroundman at the University of Life: Schematic Knowledge and Self-Culture in 'Ithaca'" Gregory O. Smith wonders about Lenehan's statement that Bloom's a "cultured allroundman". Smith jumps into the nature of Bloom's education as being that primarily of self-culture, in contrast to Stephen's traditional education that has largely tied him "to the class-bound book". What follows is a look at the "Ithaca" episode and the nature of it being something of a "mathematical catechism." Smith concludes by highlighting the divide between Stephen and Bloom, how in Bloom Joyce locates "a new modernist autodidact." Bloom's inquisitive nature manifests itself not only in his feelings towards Stephen regarding the issue of literature, but also in his approach to various pieces of technology. Sam Slote makes note of Bloom's "technophilic" nature with a catalogue of gadgets in "Questioning Technology in 'Ithaca.'" However he goes on to suggest that within Ulysses there is a kind of ambivalence toward technology. Slote proceeds through Heidegger's argument that technology aims to reveal some solution, some reveal, a process which in turn employs a will-to-mastery, something that is challenging and thus enframing. In this way man can encounter only himself, something that alienates him from the world where he lives. While Slote looks at a perceivable ambivalence toward technology in Ulysses, Gray Kochar Lindgren addresses the technophilic nature of the book with a phone call directly to the Ulysses switchboard. Lindgren's "Reading, Technology and Literature@Yes-Yes.edu" breaks down each element of a communications network, phone to internet, and how they connect to parts of the Joycean universe.
The final group of essays branch off from the others in a variety of ways suggestive of Moultrop's summation of hypertext as being connected to "affiliation, correspondence and resonance." These seem to use multiple points of departure, including from aforementioned theorists. Silvia Annavini takes off from Seamus Dean's note about subversion being key in Joyce's writing, as well as from Benjamin's dictate on subversion being both a moment of self-consciousness in modernity and an instrument of demystification and goes into allegory being one of the primary modes of subversion in Ulysses, particularly evidenced in the "Proteus" episode. Her essay "'Proteus': Signs and Signatures of Modern Allegory. A Portrait of the Artist as an Interpreter" parallels Stephen's statements with some from the fourth chapter of Stephen Hero and displays the importance of time and knowledge in connection to the allegory. Stephen F Walker's "'Art Thou Real, My Ideal?' Jung's Animus in Joyces 'Nausicaa'" looks at a possible connection to Jung in "Nausicaa," grappling with the difficult question of whether it was possible for Joyce to have known about the anima/animus writings, whether in fact they had even been available before Joyce left Zurich. Walker looks at the presentation of Gerty in the episode and suggests that Joyce was probably influenced by the idea of animus as the basis for a woman's soul-image. Louis Armand seeks to identify what is writing in Joyce, with an examination of the relation to self-identity and agency in his essay "James Joyce & the Obscene Object of Post/Humanism." He grounds his essay in the notion that there is something in the discourse of posthumanism that is outside both the human and humanism. This 'something' is the basis for an analysis of the textual 'body' Joyce has configured in his writing between Dubliners and Finnegans Wake. Valerie Benejam's "'Don't be Talking!' Gravity, Eccentricity and the Expanding Margin of Joycean Discourse" discusses collective speech and understanding, and the significance of the group to the individual. She compares Stephen's description of his location and identity to Fleming's description in Portrait and uses this as a jumping off point for a discussion of how Joyce positions characters and groups both within the central discourse and typographically. She also looks at how certain styles are marginalized or focused on by Joyce before concluding with a direct analysis of the "Sirens" and "Cyclops" episodes in Ulysses. In "From Poetriarchy to Proteiformity: Joyce, Jolas, Stein & McCaffery" David Vichnar (HJS editor of the past 10 years) uses Joyce's limerick about Jolas to go into a discussion of the development of Jolas' language program, as first found in transition 11. Vichnar links Jolas' description of the need for a deterioration of language with Joyce's "Works in Progress" being the foremost among those working to break down language. Vichnar discusses those with connections to the Jolasian programme, from Gertrude Stein's contrary method to the later rise of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. Vichnar continues to look at Steve McCaffery's works, who he sees as carrying on from this heritage of transition.
As this anniversary HJS issue is the first under my editorial supervision, I would like to express my gratitude to David Vichnar, HJS editor of the last 10 years, for all his dedicated work on the magazine and the good faith with which he has entrusted it to me. Under my editorial care, I hope the magazine will continue in the directions pointed out during his editorship.
#hypertext #intertwingle #nightmaze #threads #spacetime #Nelson #Derrida #Joyce #criticalcorrespondence #HCE #identity #introtoolong #gettotheessays
Zachariah Mullen (Editor), Charles University, 31 August 2016.