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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: January ::
Re: Hypertext Shakespeare
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0033.  Friday, 14 January 1994.
 
From:           James McKenna <MCKENNJI@UCBEH.bitnet>
Date:           Thursday, 13 Jan 1994 23:33:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        hypershakspeare
 
Concerning wishes for hypertext Shakespeare, two come to mind: availability
for DOS--I can't learn to like what I can't get onscreen--and heavy
bibliography.  How about instant bibliography for every major action, scene,
passage? This could include parallel texts by other authors or possible sources
for various aspects of the text in question. It could also include recognition
of parallels in the author's other works and interrelations between parts of
the text.  (If this last option were available right now for J.J.'s ULYSSES,
I'd buy it--or would I?  What happens to a literary work when it disembowels
itself with the push of a button?)
 
Anyway, another idea is a well-designed display of variants that--if
possible--allows both reading of text and examination of variants:  Split
screens, maybe?  or interlining in a different color?  (I did something
like that in Pagemaker with an OE text [DREAM OF THE ROOD], and I found it very
valuable.)
 
Finally, I've got a vague interest in statistical studies to find variations
that indicate revision, shared authorship, etc.  Is it even practical to build
functions in that would both be accessible to mathematical morons like myself
and be effective in reliable statistical searches?
 
Finally, finally, who does the edition? the selection of bibliography? all the
apparatus that is the point of hypertext?  I'd want to know that the
scholarship is first-rank before I'd spend the time to learn to use a complex
tool.
 
Even as I suggest these ideas, I still wonder whether we do ourselves any
favors by committing to electrotexts.  I just don't buy the argument that
tools are value-neutral.  Nevertheless, the possibilities are interesting...if
unnerving. I remain impenitently skeptical.
 
James McKenna
mckennji@ucbeh.bitnet
 

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