Okay. I was looking for material to do a write-up on the Laxdoela Saga, an Icelandic saga that I once based a long, narrative poem upon.

Looking to the web to see whether there was anything else available on the topic (since it's been a very long time since I thought about the Saga itself) I come across this URL:


It's supposedly about Medieval masculinities but it's also about hypertext and sounds (to me) a lot like what everything is (or can be) on a good day. Not to imply that everything is a scholarly enterprise, in the sense that's usually meant. But to whet your appetite, here's a selection from the opening paragraphs of the essay:

"The new kinds of scholarly writing and experiences of reading which hypertext enables was recognized several years ago by George Landow (Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology, Johns Hopkins 1992), who wrote compellingly of the associative rather than linear logics which hypermedia encourages. A text that opens itself to the reader like a city to wander through rather than as a map that makes a geometry of that same sprawl is the kind of text Roland Barthes envisioned as writerly:

"the goal of literary work (of literature as work) is to make the reader no longer a consumer, but a producer of a text" (S/Z (NY: Hill and Wang, 1974), p.4)

"The hypertext essay is a collaborative work, a space where author meets reader in a dynamic arena in which the one structures invisble paths and silently directive delimiters of experience while the other negotiates these roads according to both an unseen intention and a will to knowledge capable, perhaps, of finding other ways through the textual labyrinth, of mapping new journeys by reinventing meaning within a world always less solid than it appears.

"Hypertext enables new scholarly methodologies, but it can also enact them. The fine line between word and performance (speech and action, langue et parole, conceptualiziation and incorporation -- I'm elaborating here by amplification, not by appositive binarism) blurs both in hypertext and, as the article which follows argues, in gender. The experience of gender is not all that different from the experience of a text connected by invisible anchors and hotspots that organize a potentially random event (reading, or being) into coherence ("meaning"). A simultaneous freedom and constriction inhere in both hypertextual spaces and gender codes: those unseen authorial hands that have structured the roads which construct the reading of a hypertext piece (and which, because self-erasing, can be approached as "authorial" only through obscured traces) can be compared to the unseen naturalizing processes that manufacture gender within a given society and sanction which paths of action have meaning, and which are random (meaningless) or monstrous (meaningful but dangerous, because challenging). Invisible powers lose their potency only when brought into the light."

- from "Medieval Masculinities: Heroism, Sanctity, and Gender" by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and the Members of Interscripta