In Heuretics (1994), Gregory Ulmer applies his theory of the structure of the logic of invention, which he refers to as CATTt, to hypertext. His goal is to "invent" a genre for hypertext. The acronym, CATTt, stands for Contrast, Analogy, Theory, Target, tale/tail, the five ingredients, according to Ulmer, for a succssful invention. Although I think that these five components are somewhat contrived (can they not be?), I find that they do apply in retrospect to the theories that I am developing. It would be dishonest for me to suggest that I actually used CATTt to piece together my theories, but it is useful to me as a general framework for expounding them.
Writes Ulmer, "The tale. . . often turns out to be a dramatization of the theory. . . ." In my case, the tale is a hypertext web written based on the theory. My theory, of course, did not entirely precede the web, but developed along with it, but that is another story.
Here I should point out that the theory itself demands that there be no hypertext links from the tale to anything theoretical (although there may be some the other way if I feel like putting them in; feel free to add any of those that you wish). The tale exists as a separate unit. In fact, any reader with a predilection for experiencing the intended effects of the story without marring them with intellectual foreknowledge (if you question, recall that the veracity of destruction by intellectualization is sorely evidenced by the fate of Dada in the hands of the establishment) should be a good juror, strike all this theory from the record and read it now. Please keep the windows open and, if possible, use a big screen.
This exposition of the theory is only extant because I thought of it.
The target, the application or purpose, of my theory is, like that of Ulmer, hypertext. Its goal is to further develop the possibilities of hypertext, and to organize them. It opens new doors, or reopens old ones. . . .
Ulmer explains, "The theorist generates a new theory based on the authority of another theory whose argument is accepted as a literal rather than a figurative analogy." What argument in critical theory is universally accepted? None. Since it is his theories Ulmer himself utilizes, I assume Derrida is well enough accepted to form a substantial ground for a new theory to stand on. Theory is based on other theory and mine follows some ideas I garnered from If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino. It also invokes some currently circulating theories of hypertext.
For figurative analogy, I call upon Cubism. In a nutshell my theory as it currently stands is that hypertext is an ideal medium for importing the ideas and techniques of Analytical Cubism, a la Braque and Picasso circa 1911-12, to the world of belles lettres. Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Because Cubism is hailed as perhaps the single most important movement in twentieth century art, Picasso is lauded as questionably the greatest painter of the age, and yet of all modern art movements, Cubism was the least followed up on, and the one least reflected in the other arts, including literature. Even if it is eighty-five years old, the technical ability necessary to paint a Cubist painting is perhaps paralleled now by the technical complexity of hypertext.
Finally, we come to contrast. Painting and literature, although they are distinct arts with distinct sets of techniques and possibilities have shared remarkably similar histories. If the conscioussness of an era is exhibited in its arts, contributions have been made to each style in both media, though possibly at different times. Analogies between literature and painting are manifold and each may be contrasted directly with my own theory.
cubism and HT