Composition No. 1

Creative Work
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1961
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Description (in English): 

"The reader is requested to shuffle these pages like a deck of cards; to cut, if he likes, with his left hand, as at a fortuneteller’s. The order the pages then assume will orient X’s fate.

For the time and order of events control a man’s life more than the nature of such events. Certainly there is a framework which history imposes: the presence of a man in the resistance, his transfer to the Army of Occupation in Germany, relate to a specific period. Similarly, the events that marked his childhood cannot be presented in the same way as those which he experienced as an adult.

Nor is it a matter of indifference to know if he met his mistress Dagmar before or after his marriage; if he took advantage of Helga at the time of her adolescence or her maturity; if the theft he has committed occurred under cover of the resistance or in less troubles times; if the automobile accident in which he has been hurt is unrelated to the theft — or the rape — or if it occurred during his getaway.

Whether the story ends well or badly depends on the concatenation of circumstances. A life if composed of many elements. But the number of possible compositions is infinite."

(Source: Description of the work printed inside box cover of 1963 Simon & Schuster English translation)

Technical notes: 

A box of loose sheets each printed with a page of the novel. Can be read in any order.

Critical writing that references this work:

Titlesort ascending Author Year
Understanding Interactive Fictions as a Continuum: Reciprocity in Experimental Writing, Hypertext Fiction, and Video Games Elizabeth Burgess 2015
Travels in Cybertextuality. The Challenge of Ergodic Literature and Ludology to Literary Theory Markku Eskelinen 2009
The Materiality of the Intangible: Literary Metaphor in Multimodal Texts Lyle Skains 2013
The Emergence of Electronic Literature Exhibition Catalogue Scott Rettberg, Jill Walker Rettberg 2013
Shuffling the Sjuzhet in Marc Saporta's Composition No. 1 Courtney A. Pfahl 2015
Písanie v interaktívnych médiách. Digitálna fikcia /Writing in the Interactive Media. Digital Fiction Zuzana Husárová 2009
Offene Texte und nicht-lineares Lesen. Hypertext und Textwissenschaft Kurt E. Fendt 1993
Nonlinear Writing Astrid Ensslin 2014
New narrative pleasures? A cognitive-phenomenological study of the experience of reading digital narrative fictions Anne Mangen 2006
Le récit littéraire interactif. Narrativité et interactivité Serge Bouchardon 2005
Language as Gameplay: toward a vocabulary for describing works of electronic literature Brian Kim Stefans 2012
Gaps, Maps and Perception: What Hypertext Readers (Don't) Do J. Yellowlees Douglas 1992
Fuzzy Coherence: Making Sense of Continuity in Hypertext Narratives Jukka Tyrkkö 2011
Electronic Literature Seen from a Distance: The Beginnings of a Field Jill Walker Rettberg 2012
Electronic Literature Scott Rettberg 2018
Electronic Literature Scott Rettberg 2018
Digital Literature: Theoretical and Aesthetic Reflections Luciana Gattass 2011
Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature Espen Aarseth 1997
Autorschaft und digitale Literatur: Geschichte, Medienpraxis und Theoriebildung Heiko Zimmermann 2015
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