10.0684 effects of computers on writing

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Sun, 9 Feb 1997 09:14:42 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 684.
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: BRUNI <jbrun@eagle.cc.ukans.edu> (19)
Subject: computer writing

Kristine L. Haugen's discussion concerning David Foster Wallace's
*Infinite Jest* brings to mind a book of essays by Michael Joyce on
hypertext *Of Two Minds.* These essays, some culled from on-line
discussions, others from hypertext documents, suggest to me the increasing
role of computers in producing texts. Joyce comments that he now speaks
"polyvocally," ie in a hypertext-like discourse. Is this a step toward
computer-mediated consciousness in communication? One might then read
Donna Haraway's notion of cyborg writing in this context.

I have not yet read Wallace's book (I have read his earlier work *Broom
of the System*), but he is clearly influenced by Thomas Pynchon.
Pynchon's books, such as *Crying of Lot 49* are groundbreaking in their
exploration of the effects of electronic media on our awareness of the
world. Perhaps his new book, which should be out soon, will address how
global computer networks--such as the Web--further alter our perception.

John Bruni
Department of English
University of Kansas