October 9, 2007

Ergodic Histories in the Cybertext Database

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 12:23 am

The Cybertext Yearbooks, starting in the year 2000, have been an outstanding series of anthologies covering one of GTxA’s favorite topics: textual machines. This year, editors Markku Eskelinen and Raine Koskimaa decided to convert the series to a freely-available online database, new additions to which will continue to be released as a series of volumes. As a result, I’m finally getting a chance to read the articles from 2006’s yearbook, Ergodic Histories.

These articles are a treasure trove of carefully-considered examples from the history of ergodic textuality, moving beyond the most commonly-cited examples from French and English literature into German, Catalan, and Arabic texts — and also including essays that explore forms such as lexicon/encyclopaedic novels and proto-hypertextual work. For more on these topics, see the essays. For more on the meaning of the potentially-puzzling terms “cybertext” and “ergodic,” see our earlier discussion (ignoring, if you will, my ill-informed characterization of Tale-Spin).