10.0664 computers and writing

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 5 Feb 1997 19:34:29 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 664.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: "Kristine L. Haugen" (14)
Subject: Computer fiction

David Foster Wallace's *Infinite Jest* (NY 1996) doesn't feature computers
in its plot, except in a charming set-piece about the likely future of
video phone technology and some other odds and ends. But--as I think most
of its reviewers have pointed out--the book's astounding length and
extensive discursive endnotes (100+ pages) seem to owe a lot to online
composition and editing, in a way that other very big books (Gibbon,
Proust, Musil) do not. (That said, I do like Wallace's work very much.)
It seems to me many literary writers still use form in a way that was
a necessary economy when one had to handwrite or manually type
every word and syntax needed to be planned far in advance.

Of course, I'd welcome contradiction.

Kristine Haugen
Department of English
Princeton University