14.0159 the poetics and bibliographics of cyberspace

From: Humanist Discussion Group (willard@lists.village.virginia.edu)
Date: Wed Aug 09 2000 - 18:41:41 CUT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 159.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: Mick Doherty <mickwrites@yahoo.com> (25)
             Subject: Re: 14.0156 the poetics of "cyberSPACE"

       [2] From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi <tripathi@statistik.uni- (61)
             Subject: William Gibson and Marshall McLuhan & *CyberSPACE*

       [3] From: SJ Stauffer <stauffes@gusun.georgetown.edu> (47)
             Subject: re: Cyberspace and Gibson

             Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 19:37:25 +0100
             From: Mick Doherty <mickwrites@yahoo.com>
             Subject: Re: 14.0156 the poetics of "cyberSPACE"

    As long as some others are pointing to work they have
    written on this very topic, let me drag up something I
    wrote back in 1995, which I think still holds up very

    "Marshall McLuhan
    Meets William Gibson in 'Cyberspace'"
    September 1, 1995 / Page 4

    For the English-impaired, this has been translated and
    re-published in "Talon de Aquiles" a Chilean journal:

    "Marshall McLuhan se encuentra con
    William Gibson en el 'Ciberespacio'"

    It examines the whole concept of metaphor and the
    origin of the idea of "cyberspace."

    Mick Doherty
    Editor, Corporate Communications
    American Airlines
    (working on the start of a fourth year of a one-year
    leave of absence from academia ...)

    Do You Yahoo!?
    Kick off your party with Yahoo! Invites.

             Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 19:38:03 +0100
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi <tripathi@statistik.uni-dortmund.de>
             Subject: William Gibson and Marshall McLuhan & *CyberSPACE*

    Dear Dr. Willard McCarty and humanists,

    Hi, thanks for your thoughts and questions on the "metaphors" of
    Cyberspace, which stimulates some concerns-- I would like to post some
    exchanges, that have taken place on McLuhan-L List, the voice "The Herbert
    Marshall McLuhan Foundation" between Dr. Peter Montgomery (Moderator of
    McLuhan-L Listserv) and myself --thought might interest you and other
    scholars, discussing the metaphorical and spatial views of Cyberspace.

    ======> Arun Tripathi writes the below ======>
    Cyberspace, according to William Gibson --a consensual hallucination
    experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by
    children, being taught mathematical concepts --a graphic representation of
    data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system.
    Unthinkable complexity --he mentioned in his novel Neuromancer.

    And on the other side of horizon-- Michael Benedict, author of
    *Cyberspace: First Steps*, takes a crack at an over-arching definition in
    his 1994 book:
    "Cyberspace: A word from the pen of William Gibson, science fiction
    writer, circa 1984..A new universe, a parallel universe created and
    sustained by the world's computers and communication lines..The table
    become a page become a screen become a world, a virtual world..A common
    mental geography, built, in turn, by consensus and revolution, cannon and
    experiment..Its corridors form wherever electricity runs with
    intelligence..The realm of pure information...."

    In the answers..In 1964, McLuhan wrote in *Understanding Media* (it is
    very important too note, he wrote before the invention of cyberspace..and
    before Neuromancer..)
    "The telephone: speech without walls. The phonograph: music hall without
    halls. The photograph: museum without walls. The electric light: space
    without walls. The movie, radio and TV: classroom without walls. Man the
    food-gatherer reappears incongruously as information --gatherer. In this
    role, electronic man is no less a nomad than his Paleolithic ancestors."

    ======> Dr. Peter Montgomery replies =======>
    It took me a while to get the chance to deal with this post, Arun. It is a
    very interesting one. McLuhan might well have made good use of the word
    CYBERSPACE, were it around. He certainly made phenomenal (pun) use of
    the concept of space as a set of modalities of the senses in various of
    their ratios. He particularly drew our attention to the total resonance
    of auditory space, with its everywhere-at-once-ness, which is, of course,
    an attribute of cyberspace. He also made much of the idea of the
    computer as a total extension of our central nervous system.

    According to the OED, CYBERSPACE is a back formation from CYBERNETICS,
    a word with which McLuhan was no doubt familiar. In fact, I could
    believe he mused about it to quite some extent, given its
    venerable derivation from the Greek CYBERNETICIST [kubernetes]
    which means STEERSMAN or PILOT, so that the metaphor of sea and space
    would be intrinsically obvious. Of course, assuming that he did
    give the word some attention, he would then have characterised
    its mythological dimension, by recalling the great greek ferryman KIRON,
    the archetypal navigator across the River Styx - river of death,
    who had an ancestor in the person of Urshanabi of THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH,
    and an eminent descendent in a somewhat buddhist frame of reference
    in Herman Hesse's SIDDHARTHA's Vasudeva. Concommitamt with that
    one should observe the two major characterisations of Buddhism,
    the hinayana (little ferry) and the mahayana (big ferry). Urshanabi,
    on the other hand, ferried people across the great sea to Utnapishtim
    who was no minor nautical dilettante, but no less than Noah himself.

    Perhaps the appeal of Star Trek is its unconscious objectification
    of the cybernetic sphere, whereby we do boldly explore where we
    have never explored before. A millenial enterprise.

    Arun Tripathi

             Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000 19:38:41 +0100
             From: SJ Stauffer <stauffes@gusun.georgetown.edu>
             Subject: re: Cyberspace and Gibson


    Can't we do better than this?

    -- "William Gibson, especially his Neuromancer (1994) trilogy."
           Mark Horney <mhorney@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU>

    -- "William Gibson's sci-fi classic <i>Neuromancer</i> (1984)"
           Mark Wolff <wolffm0@hartwick.edu>

    -- "the locus classicus, _Necromancer_, by William Gibson."
           Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett <bk3@is.nyu.edu>

    Only Mark Wolff gets it right.

    The book is on my shelf at home, but, hey, cut-and-paste is
    easier than transcription, so I turn to my web sources.


    A search for William Gibson in my university's online
    catalogue brings up this:

       AUTHOR Gibson, William, 1948-
       TITLE Neuromancer / William Gibson.
       IMPRINT New York : Ace Books, c1984.
       DESCRIPT 271 p. ; 18 cm.
       ISBN 0441569595.


    A search for William Gibson on google.com brings up
    this URL for a William Gibson Bibliography / Mediagraphy:


    with this entry:


    A star. It won the Hugo, Nebula, Philip K. Dick, Seiun, and Ditmar awards.

    Also available as graphic novel, electronic book, videogame, and spoken
    word recording.

           US Hardcover
           Phantasia Press, spring 1986
           1st Phantasia Press ed. West Bloomfield
           ISBN 0932096417

           1st Ace hardcover ed. New York : Ace Books, 1994
           ISBN 0441000681
           US Paperback
           Ace Book, July 1984 (Ace Science Fiction original,
                     then Ace S.F. Special, then an Ace Book)
           ISBN: 0-441-56959-5
           Cover: digital face and hand by Richard Berry



    The US Library of Congress <http://www.loc.gov/>
    has an entry, as well.


    Stephanie J. Stauffer
    Center for Applied Linguistics

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