My COVID work

  • Worldvent, a low-cost ventilator from an all-volunteer team based at the University of Washington. We hope to have tens of thousands of these, this summer.

It’s an emergency. Don’t wait: do what you can to find a place where you can pitch in.

My Research

Conference Papers Of Interest To Narrascope

My Books

Critical Theory

The best starting point is probably Terry Eagleton’s After Theory. People trained in science and engineering may find the Theory literature unpleasant; for them, the best entrance is George P. Landow’s masterful Hypertext 3.0. If you can find a copy, Silvio Gaggi’s From Text To Hypertext is a very accessible introduction to postmodernism in art.

Janet Murray’s Hamlet On The Holodeck is indispensable even though I believe it is mistaken.

Louis Menand’s wonderful piece on Pauline Kael, “Finding It At The Movies,” debuted in the New Yorker and can be found in his American Studies. Do not miss Menand’s wonderful study of The Cat In The Hat, Cat People” (The New Yorker, 16 Dec 2002)

For narratology, the best entry point is unexpected: N. J.Lowe, The Classical Plot And The Invention Of Western Narrative.

Sooner or later, we all seem to write a version of Little Red. For mine, see my paper “On Hypertext Narrative”. For a look at the tale’s reach, see Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre. Be wary of structuralism and other formal story grammars, keeping in mind (Darnton always does) that Propp’s movement has much in common with phlogiston.

For understanding “the digital” and what is yet to come, nothing beats Lars Spuybroek, The Sympathy Of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology Of Design.


You will find a wealth of insight and guidance in imagined futures of narrative. Of particular interest are some recent titles:

Artifacts And Performances

by Ross King

The dome of Florence’s Duomo was wider and taller than any dome since antiquity, and remained the world’s largest for a very long time. It was raised without interior scaffolding, saving forests of trees. It was raised without proper mathematics. This solid retelling of how Brunelleschi designed and built the dome is fascinating, though it tends to dwell too much on the politics of the day and spends too little time explaining just how the dome stands up.

by Elizabeth van Arnhim

Two married women live in Hampstead, shop in London, and are members of the same uncomfortable club on Shaftesbury Avenue. They know each other by sight. Mrs. Wilkins reads an advertisement in The Times:

To Those Who Appreciate Wisteria And Sunshine. Small medieval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be Let furnished for the month of April. Necessary servants remain. Z, Box 1000, The Times.

It is a rainy February day in London, and Mrs. Wilkins thinks that yes, she does appreciate Wisteria And Sunshine. She proposes to Mrs. Arbuthnot, whom she does not properly know, that they go halves. They decide that it cannot hurt to make inquiries.

This delightful vacation fantasy was written in 1922. In 1932, Peter Fleming would read an equally odd advertisement in The Times and launch on his Brazilian Adventure, becoming the template of his little brother’s James Bond.