After reading the first 90 pages of Italo Calvino’s, “If On A Winter Night’s A Traveler,” I came to the understanding that the novel was about a bunch of smaller stories packed into it. During our class discussion on Tuesday, we talked about this and how Calvino is affectively using different types of writing-styles to engage and keep us intrigued and interested. At the beginning of every chapter and story, he started off with something different that eventually lead us — the reader — to understand that we were reading about new characters. At the start of page 91, however, we the readers, quickly realize that we are talking about characters who we’ve already met. It is at this point that I realized all the short stories we were reading — If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, Outside the Town of Malbork, Leaning from the Steep Slope etc. — were part of the novels that the narrator and Ludmilla were reading and missing the endings to their stories. Maybe I was the only one to pick up on this so late in the book, but I found it to be another effective way to lure us into the novel.
Alright guys…. I’m actually beginning to enjoy this novel. Calvino’s mind, an interesting and bizarre place to explore. At times, it has been quite confusing and rather annoying; that is, up until I have been able to appreciate and perhaps, UNDERSTAND the style of his writing. Finalmente! I have come to appreciate it… however, there is still a part of this section, from pages 91- 131, that need further decoding. Okay… here comes the question: "Are multiple stories merely taking place from pages 116 to 131?" just a thought.. :) -lindsey
I started reading the book and found that it had more than one book within its original title. I did not fully understand text media, but by the time I got to page ninety I had a pretty good picture. The story changed about four times with the title and chapter numbers not agreeing with each other. The themes change, the characters changed, and it indicated a change in the time periods.
Because there were so many changes in the text it was clear to see how Italo Calvino’s writing would be considered Textual Media. He left you with stories that you could finish with the material from your experiences. Calvino used some of the same concepts in his book that we saw in Bust Down the Door! And All Fall Down. I could choose a lot of different paths in his story by choosing different stories ending from the Calvino’s book creating my own active journey 0r Ergodic Literature
In Calvino’s novel If on a winter’s night a traveler I realized that when the author refer to “you” “the reader”, it is not just me who is reading the author is refering to in the passages. The “you” is actually a construction of another character that is part of the novel itself. I realized in chapter 2 that “you” is actually a man, and I am definitely not a man. Unfortunately, that is the limitation of writing in a second person point of view. Another reason I felt the you that the author addresses is not simply a general “you” as public audience reader is because the you have a specific personality and interest that the author ascribe to the you through discriptions of how “you” would react to certain situation. Nonetheless, the author direct involvement in dissecting the reading experience by explicitly stating what the readers should feel, react or pay attention to, I can very much identify with the “you” character. At some point it is difficult to differentiate the “you” (the male character or me) that the author is addressing. It is almost like a double layer you. When there are things that does not apply to me directly when the author refers to you, I would attribute the characteristic to the fictional “you”, as another character in the book. When there are statements that the author made to “you” that can be apply universally, many times I take it as if the author is addressing the real reader, which is me. For example, when the author states things such as, “If you, Reader, were already prepared, each time that character is introduced again…” or “Each sentence, in short, wants to convey to you…”(36-7) those broad statements directs the reader attention to what the author intend to do or how the reader should think about the conversation, I think those statement addresses the actual reader reading the book.
That is one convuluted paragraph above. I am even getting myself confuse in what I originally intended to say. On a different note, I find this sentence in the novel very applicable to my reading experience, “Whatever it may be, this is a novel where, once you have got into it, you want to go forward, without stopping.” (76) I realized as I make my way through this novel, as choppy each separate sections in the novel is or confusing it may be at some parts, once I started I just got to forge right through the novel, there is no stopping even though there is a different story after each chapter.
I was not sure if the words moved to different places on the screen; However, I am sure that the music calmed my energy. It was much different than the mush from “Bust Down the Door!” I did notice that the words changed for what was falling. I thought that the positions and sized changed, but I could be wrong about that part of the observation.
I do not know much about textual media, but nluu’s reflection gave me some idea of the differences in the media forms.
Aarseth and Bolter seem to emphasized that the main difference between cybertext and traditional printed texts is that cybertext “involve interactivity” and allows for more control to the readers. Aarseth termed the readers’ interaction with cybertext as “ergodic” which refers to the readers’ choice leading to numerous variations of reading experiences and results. I can see how this definition can apply to cybertext such as the Hejirascope project, however I do not see how the definition can apply to the Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries cybertext project of Bust Down the Doors! and All Fall Down. In both “Bust Down the Doors! and “All Fall Down” it appears that the readers have little control or direct interaction to change the course of the words flashed on the screen. Textual media seem to be more than just the electronic medium that is used to present the literature and the capability for reader interactions with the text. Despite the lack of readers’ control within the text the Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries is considered as a form of textual media because the form of the text incorporate sounds and the continual self-flashing of words cannot be reproduced in print format. So is the definition of textual media similar to cybertext?
It intrigued me, really, to find that there is such a distinct difference between cybertext and the obvious, linear text. Aside from the clear comparison of engaging one’s senses through the screen of a computer, (where limitless possibilities await an artisist, designer, or writer) as opposed to reading between the lines of a bounded paper back, I hadn’t taken much thought to distinguishing the two genres of print.
One thought that came to mind is simply that, although the use of interative digital media is becoming widely attractive for the use of communicating, I still feel that reading and interacting through the simplistic style of a book and piece of literature is valid in today’s market.
HERE’s A LITTLE QUESTION- what did Aarseth mean when he stated,
“… while they focused on what was being read, I focused on what was being read from, ” ? (p. 3, Ergodic Literature).
alright, that’s all!
This is the class blog and website for ENGL 343, a course in the English Department at George Mason University which focuses on digital textuality, new media, and experiments with narrative and technology.