Visions of the Fantastic: Selected Essays from the Fifteenth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts

By Allienne R. Becker | Go to book overview
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21
Pierre Menard in Cyberspace: The Internet as Intertext

John Pennington

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation. . . . A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data.

William Gibson, Neuromancer 15

The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries . . .Perhaps my old age and fearlessness deceive me, but I suspect that the human species--the unique species--is about to be extinguished, but the Library will endure: illuminated, solitary, infinite, perfectly motionless, equipped with precious volumes, useless, incorruptible, secret.

Jorge Luis Borges, "The Library of Babel" 5

Roland Barthes talks about "the impossibility of living outside the infinite text" (36). Jacques Derrida persuades us that all is text, decentered, where "every sign, linguistic or nonlinguistic, spoken or written . . . can be cited, put between quotation marks," for "in so doing it can break with every given context, engendering an infinity of new contexts in a manner which is absolutely illimitable" ( "Signature"1177). Mikhail Bakhtin reminds us that the dialogic--or multivocal--novel "is constructed not as the whole of a single consciousness, absorbing other consciousness as objects into itself, but as a whole formed by the interaction of several consciousness, none of which entirely becomes an object for the other" (12). And Michel Foucault writes that "the frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full- stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network" (23). These members from the Poststructuralist Hall of Fame tell us that our

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