Final Questions From Wednesday's Discussion

This is slightly belated, but I realized because there was a lot to cover in the discussion on Wednesday, there were a couple issues we only touched on briefly or didn’t get around to discussing. So I figured I could post a couple points Bryan and I discussed when we were outlining the class facilitation and see what you guys had to think about them. One issue we mentioned but didn’t really follow up on was the idea of ending. Joyce instructs the readers of Afternoon to read until they feel an ending has been reached or they feel done with the process of reading Afternoon. We wondered if Afternoon can be considered a true narrative without some sort of true conclusion (although perhaps Afternoon achieves this in some way?). How did the lack of a clear ending and resolution affect your reading of Afternoon? For me personally, it made the story feel less driven and it was more difficult to motivate myself to continue because I didn’t know when the story would ever end. Reading Afternoon caused me to realize that I am driven mainly by a desire for resolution when I read fiction. Another issue that seemed unique to cybertext was one brought up in the Kirschenbaum reading. Though there were multiple editions of Afternoon, these editions were not demarcated in any way, which contributes to the difficulty in discussing Afternoon. How do discuss a text if it is unclear which edition is being referred to? Does the structure of these texts make numbering the editions irrelevant, and if so why is a new edition necessary?
Lastly, we wanted to discuss the future of cybertext. Is it fated to remain a fringe movement or is there a potential for mass appeal? What if Faulkner who had such innovative ideas he was unable to execute in print had access to this technology? Do you think that “great writers” would be able to harness these technologies to create more innovative texts?

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