Hypertext Lake: Carolyn Guyer’s Quibbling or Lessons in Hypertext Reading

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

If Michael Joyce’s afternoon, a story is the Yin of hypertext literature, then Carolyn Guyer’s Quibbling is the Yang: perhaps the ultimate hypertext of female sensitivity, poetics, and politics. Published in the autumn of 1992, Quibbling seems to be everything that afternoon, a story wasn’t. Instead of a single protagonist on a paranoid knowledge quest about those close to him and himself through a labyrinth of his fear and desire, the “digital rhapsody” [1] by this woman American author gives voice to a group of characters, four couples, without a distinct narrative centre towards which other voices would gravitate. As readers we are invited into their stories, their intellectual horizons, and into uncovering relations between these characters in the past and in the present. The whole work is broadly feminist, and as such it represents an innovative form of l'ecriture feminine [2] from the early 1990s with a fascinating, added value of experimentation with form in the electronic realm of hypertext. A male perspective is consistently rejected as something too linear to give way to a fragmentary poetics, small narrations, and sensual dimensions of language and the body.

Pull Quotes: 

The beautiful aquatic metaphors and allegories that Guyer uses in interviews and in metafictional fragments of the work, as well as even more popular tailoring metaphors (stitching, quilting), are used as a guideposts for those of us who might get lost in the radically open formula of this hypertext. 


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Title Developers Year initiated
Storyspace 1987

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Title Location
Eastgate Systems, Inc.
Eastgate Systems, Inc.
134 Main Street
02472 Watertown , MA
United States
Massachusetts US

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Record posted by: 
Dene Grigar