Of Two Minds

Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics
Michael Joyce
An acclaimed hypertext novelist's reflections on art and technology, nonlinearity, and the creative process


In Of Two Minds, noted hypertext novelist and writing teacher Michael Joyce explores the new technologies, mediums, and modalities for teaching and writing, ranging from interactive multimedia to virtual reality. As author of Afternoon: A Story, which the New York Times Book Review termed "the most widely read, quoted, and critiqued of all hypertext narratives," and co-developer of Storyspace, an innovative hypertext software acclaimed for offering new kinds of artistic expression, he is uniquely well qualified to explore this stimulating topic.

The essays comprise what Joyce calls "theoretical narratives," woven from e-mail messages, hypertext "nodes," and other kinds of electronic text that move nomadically from one occasion or perspective to another, between the poles of art and instruction , teaching and writing. The nomadic movement of ideas is made effortless by the electronic medium, which makes it easy to cross borders (or erase them) with the swipe of a mouse, and which therefore challenges our notions of intellectual and artistic borders.

Joyce makes it clear that we are not just the natural heirs but, through our visions, the architects of new technologies that promise to enact our visions as much as change them. The collection summons writing from artists, poets, teachers, scientists, and feminist thinkers, and in so doing builds on notions of human possibility as a basis for the broadest kind of conversation in what Joyce deems our increasingly multiple, polymorphous, and polylogous culture.

If Of Two Minds interests you, his other book with the University of Michigan Press, Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture might also be worth checking out.

Michael Joyce is Randolph Distinguished Visiting Professor of English, Vassar College.

Praise / Awards

  • "In this very readable and at times sheerly poetic book, godfather of the hypertext novel and accomplished teacher/scholar Michael Joyce has compressed his exuberance and intimate knowledge of how our culture and our classrooms will be transformed by the new technology of hypertext. Of Two Minds will set the standard and serve as a resource, especially for those trying to prepare a new generation of students and artists and to define their own writing in terms of the challenges hypertext poses."
    --David Porush, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • "Weaving between theoretical speculations, reports of actual classroom usage, polemical addresses, and a rich web of allusions, Of Two Minds strongly makes the case that hypertext creates a topography of textuality that requires new modes of thinking about texts."
    --N. Katherine Hayles, University of California, Los Angeles
  • ". . . I find myself standing in wonder at the breadth of riches [this book] contains. A definitive collection of essays dating back to 1987 by the man universally acknowledged as the father of hypertext fiction, this book is cause for celebration by anyone with an interest in literary hypertext."
    --AMC SIGLINK Newsletter
  • "Joyce's essays on hypertext are a very significant contribution to the discourse and deserve this print collection. . . . More anecdotal, experimental, inspirational than 'how to,' this collection is best characterized as Joyce's autobiography of the aesthetics of electronic writing and reading. Structured to remind the reader of the limits of linear text . . . the book invites browsing and then deep exploration into levels of tangents and commentary."
  • ". . . a thoughtful, sometimes provoking, multiple perspective on the interstitial field of hypertext."
    --Computers and the Humanities
  • "Joyce continues to be a lyrical, wide-ranging, and informed cultural critic and theorist of the new media."
    --Tech Directions, October 2001

Look Inside

Copyright © 1995, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 5-1/2 x 9-1/4.
  • 288pp.
  • illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1996
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06578-3

Add to Cart
  • $24.95 U.S.