Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chapter Next

On the 24th April 2007 between 10:00 and 15:00 I will be one of two doctoral candidates in literature presenting a draft chapter of their thesis: This is what I am working on at the moment. I have almost 10 pages done and it is coming along very slowly. I think this is a good sign. For the first time in my (short) post grad life I am putting a text together in stages, like a jigsaw puzzle done according to a recipe. Before this I would write furiously, trying to fit all the things I had to say into the got very messy at times. I am not "there" yet, but it feels like I am on my way (wherever "there" is?).
Here is the introduction to the chapter which has the working title The Thousand (Pre)faces of the Implied Respondent:

All digital works are situated in contexts of storage and distribution. Even before a particular text is opened it has to be located and installed on a computer. The process of text location and installation is framed by the figure of the implied respondent as much as what is regarded as the center or ‘inside’ of the text. Pre-texts, such as the systems of copyright applied to the text, imply (in the case of law they attempt to compel) a particular set of responses to the text. Foundations for the implied respondent are laid here in the pre-texts. Such pre-texts I shall refer to collectively as the preface. The preface of the digital text makes claims to be separate by treating the story text (the interior or center of the text) as its subject, but at the same time the preface qualifies and joins the ‘main’ text. In remaining with the text I will not discuss here in detail those pre-textual conditions that may have existed in regards to its primary manufacture such as authoring software, previous work/s of the author/s or external text materials[1].
I begin with how storage and distribution of the text proposes a figure of the implied respondent. The legal claims made upon the text are prevalent at this stage. The more overt preface forms, such as author introduction, that comment on and qualify the text are then discussed. Finally a general figure of the implied respondent will be sketched out from the preface examples of the corpus texts used throughout this chapter. Cultural meanings in relation to the preface can be assembled based on the figure of the implied respondent. The implied respondent of the preface will be compared to the implied respondent of the ‘main’ texts in following chapters.

[1] The choice of authoring software in the manufacture of the digital work does, of course, establish the contours of implied response to the digital work. However, this is represented only in the text and discussing the authoring software would require a separate examination of culturally motivated responses to the digital artifact.

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