Ongoing Scholarship

Perhaps the greatest benefit--and the greatest drawback--of scholarship on the web is its mutability. On the one hand the openended form allows a project to grow, change, and be amended with new information. On the other hand, the paper record of the evolution of ideas which a series of publications can represent becomes invisible. As each successive revision and reworking changes both structure and content, the earlier versions of a given essay disappear into the fragmented memory of an overwritten hard drive.

As a result, if you visited Nancy Kaplan's "E-Literacies" earlier this fall, you would have read/constructed a different essay than you will find in the link offered in my Webs Cited today. the benefit lies not only the a growing body of work--like Harry Rusche's Shakespeare Illustrated--but also in the kind of co-operative scholarship that Kaplan's essay registers when it includes commentary and argument with her ideas. We have the opportunity here to envision our scholarly work in a more long term way, but we also have the even greater opportunity to work co-operatively much more directly than ever before. The potentially rich interchanges of ideas--no longer limited to the acknowledgments at the front of a book--can become an active part of the scholarship.

I already welcome the availability of revision for this hyperessay. It has wandered from my central interest in Shakespearean criticism on the Net (in part because, as Terry Gray notes, there is not that much); it threatens to become one of series of metahyperessays which does not move into sufficiently new ground. I can readily envision dismantling the SAA part of this project and pursuing more fully my examination of Shakespeare's illustrated texts or perhaps using this format to explore the performance editing of nineteenth-century crossdressed Shakespearean heroines in parallel texts.

If you have any comments, please send them to Laurie Osborne.

breaking out of the text