'I know what it was. You know what it was': Second Person Narration in Hypertext Fiction

Critical Writing
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This article offers an analysis of two Storyspace hypertexts, Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden and Richard Holeton's Figurski at Findhorn on Acid. The article has a specific focus on how the text implements second-person narration and other forms of the textual "you" (Herman, Story Logic) in juxtaposition with other narrative perspectives. We aim to explore the extent to which print-based narratological theories of the textual "you" apply to the texts under investigation and suggest theoretical tenets and taxonomic modifications arising from the way in which the reader is involved in textual construction. More specifically we will show first how second-person narration can be used in digital fiction to endow the reader with certain properties so that she is maneuvered into the position of "you." We will then show how second-person narration can be used to presuppose knowledge about the reader so as to predict her relationship to "you." In both cases we will show that some instances of second-person narration in digital fiction require additional theoretical categories for their analysis. Of particular interest is the way in which the reader and her role in the "cybernetic feedback loop" (Aarseth) are constructed textually and interactionally.

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Alice Bell