Writing Machines is the course website for English 170L at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
I'm to do a brief presentation / lead discussion of Memmott's Lexia to Perplexia, which we're to read for next week.
What would you like to hear, see, consider? (Early responses have better chance of implementation!)
We've all sort of put up a hue and cry here for some sort of, well, what Derrida might call a "center", or as Lulu and thisismycheese mentioned (both on the blog and in class), at least a table of contents.
We do, after all, get one in our books, on our websites, from blogs like this one. And not having it in a hypertext was (is) a bit unsettling.
And that uneasiness is something that Joyce seems to lash out against. It's something he believes we shouldn't be unsettled by. See his railery against Yahoo and alta vista, or his condescension towards library patrons who read the catalog entries and tables of contents more "than they read from the volumes themselves" (54). In fact, he goes even further: "The notion that editors are 'necessary' to filter out the mass of information insists upon a hierarchy of information and implies one of human beings" (54). It's really terribly radical: he's not calling for a generation of pacifist hippies, he's calling for militant communists. Joyce wants to take away the power position of a publisher, of an "expert", of whoever it is that writes the introductions to critical collections. He wants all of us to go back to reading and discovering on our own, in our own time, on our own, un-influenced terms.
I have read both Infinite Jest and Gravity's Rainbow (though "read" is a bit of a stretch for what happened with Gravity's Rainbow, I'd say it was more like a desperate run to the finish). And I'm definitely not arguing that these books have some neat conclusions. However, when I read Infinite Jest, I feel like I'm not getting something due to my own idiocy. I feel like all the clues are there, and I just can't figure it out because I'm not well-versed enough in philosophy, literature, and history. BUT if I try hard enough, and keep on reading it, I'll figure it out. Now, I guess this isn't true, Infinite Jest won't ever resolve itself, no matter how smart you are. But that was still the emotional reaction I had reading it.
So Frabby's post on "Hot and Cold" (and note the URL if you can!) gave me an idea: if we didn't get to your passage in class today -- or even if we did -- you might consider posting it and your stabs at interpretation on your blog. It could be useful for us to puzzle through some of those passages in the comments!