Instructions & Theory:
Options for Reading:
The point of the project is to click on a hyperlinked word without completing the passage. Avoid going methodically through all of the links in one page. Or, complete a passage and opt to continue with the same narrative. Whatever decisions you make (and you should attempt to keep a log of the thoughts that occur with each link), you will create an entirely new thread. The project is not designed to create a narrative. However, if you stumble upon one, by all means -- try to follow it!
1) Click on any underlined blue hyperlink to jump to another [unspecified] link.
2) Click on Next to continue reading within the same pre-text narrative section.
3) Click on Cite to find out the title of the text and the page number. The list comes up automatically without any apparent indication of the specific page number. However, the cite for that specific passage should be the very first entry that shows up on the Citation Link when you hyper-blast yourself to that page. Use your browser's BACK button to return to the previous page.
4) If you come to a dead end, re-trace your steps by using your browser's BACK button and find another active link. (Here's a hint for re-tracing: When you've visited a link, the word/link itself will turn GREEN while UNDERLINED BLUE indicates an unvisited link and RED indicates an active site.)
By the end of your reading experience, you should have noticed the elliptical/circular "narrative" of this project - if you qualify "narrative" at all based on our class discussions. You may either begin by clicking on any one of the below titles (all false, of course) or you may continue reading for further theoretical and methodological explanations:
Help, I've Fallen OR Writer's Block OR Old Governesses OR Disappointment OR Die Now
Technically, there is no ending to this narrative.
If you really must know the pre-texts qualifying this narrative, click here. BUT, I would suggest that you refrain from this knowledge because the point of this project is to relinquish your critical role and relish the anonymity of the texts. It's slightly frightening to release yourself into a narrative that isn't quite linear and discernable - or to know your progress. The object is to allow yourself the freedom to become blind to the linearity of narrative and accept the randomness of the technology.
In this capacity, you are both interactive and subjected to control. The genre, methodology, construction, pre-text and authorial intention should be an anomaly to you. Go with it!
If you noticed that there were certain indicators of varying texts, you've deciphered a portion of the construction of this project. Each text has a unique background color assigned to each of its passages. You may have inadvertently followed a particular text because of the aesthetically pleasing tones surrounding the passage - another uncontrollable element to hypertextual design. You may not be able to willingly disengage this personal visual choice. And, part of the experiment insists that you follow a visually aesthetic narrative as well as an intellectually interesting hyper-narrative.
As for the text selections, I began by choosing texts by women only. Then I chose selections from the most dramatic or most climactic points in the novels. I next turned to character introductions and poignant moments of realization. I built this hypertext project in a pyramid type of formation, beginning with Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, moving to her letters, then to Jane Eyre, Great Expectations and Wuthering Heights. It was very difficult to resist using the "aftering" texts. These texts are so incredibly rich and layered with the "pre-text" and the 20th Century that I felt like their insertion would be cheating.
The criteria for selecting the passages oftentimes fell subject to themes of women and marriage, insanity and violence, identity and the "human condition." (There are over 50 separate pages and countless numbers of links which I inserted into the entire project.) When I began to link the different passages without the benefit of referring to the original narratives of the pre-texts, I saw conversations between the texts that were disturbingly uncanny, especially regarding women. Each time I selected a portion of the pre-text, I resisted the urge to create a footnote full of critical evaluations about the hyperlink connections between words - very difficult to do considering I've been trained to do this relentlessly throughout my graduate career.
As for the formatting of this hypertext project, it's very basic and rudimentary. The entire project could be presented in a more graphically enhanced format, but I'm new at this and didn't want to overtax my technical abilities in the hyper-world. Where possible, I've left the pre-text alone - no extra bold letters, colors or emphasis on certain phrases. The hyperlinks should have encouraged you visually to stop reading and jump to the next link for an exploration or a search for any narrative at all.
Katherine D. Harris © 2000
Completed for Professor Anne Humpherys' "Victorian Aftering" Seminar
Ph.D. Program in English, The Graduate Center CUNY