Joyce, Michael 1945-

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JOYCE, Michael 1945-

PERSONAL: Born November 9, 1945, in Lackawanna, NY; son of Thomas Robert (a steelmaker) and Joanne Hannah (Poth) Joyce; married Martha Jean Petry, October 12, 1975 (divorced, November, 1994); married Carolyn Jane Guyer, November 2, 1997; children: (first marriage) Eamon, Jeremiah. Education: Canisius College, B.A., 1972; University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1974. Politics: "Irish-American anarcho-leftist." Religion: "Quasi-Buddhist Roman Catholic." Hobbies and other interests: Exotic cooking, dance, Shakespearean acting.

ADDRESSES: Home—43 Point St., New Hamburg, NY 12590. Offıce—Department of English, 124 Raymond Ave., Box 360, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Agent—Young Agency, 156 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.

CAREER: Jackson Community College, Jackson, MI, associate professor of language and literature and coordinator of Center for Narrative and Technology, 1975-95; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, visiting professor of hypertext media, technology, and culture, 1992-93, Randolph Visiting Distinguished Professor of English and the Library, 1993—. Consultant on computers and hypertext programs.

AWARDS, HONORS: Fellowship from Iowa Writers Workshop, 1973-74; Great Lakes New Writers Award, 1983, for The War outside Ireland; fellowship from Yale University, 1984-85; teaching fellowship from Apple Computers, 1991.


(Translator, with Mischa Cain) Anton Chekhov, TheCherry Orchard (play), produced in Jackson, MI, at Jackson Civic Theater, 1980.

The War outside Ireland (novel), Tinkers Dam Press (Jackson, MI), 1982.

afternoon, a story (interactive novel), Eastgate Systems (Watertown, MA), 1987, revised edition, 1993.

(Editor, with Larry McCaffery) WAXWeb (hypermedia fiction; adapted from David Blair's video Wax; or, The Discovery of Television among Bees), Eastgate Systems (Watertown, MA), 1994.

Of Two Minds: Hypertext, Pedagogy, and Poetics (essays), University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 1995.

(With Carolyn Guyer and Rosemary Joyce) SisterStories (hypermedia fiction), Eastgate Systems (Watertown, MA), 1996.

Twelve Blue, 1997.

(Editor, with Ilana Snyder) Page to Screen: TakingLiteracy into the Electronic Era, Routledge (New York, NY), 1998.

Othermindness: The Emergence of Network Culture, University of Michigan Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2000.

Moral Tales and Meditations: Technological Parables and Refractions, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2001.

Liam's Going (novel), McPherson (Kingston, NY), 2002.

Contributor to Bioapparatus, edited by Catherine Richards and Nel Tenhaaf, Banff Centre for the Arts (Banff, Alberta, Canada), 1991; Works and Days, edited by David B. Downing and James J. Sosnowski, 1994; The Future of the Book, edited by Geoffrey Nunberg, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1996; and In Memoriam to Postmodernism: Essays on the Avant-Pop, edited by Mark Amerika and Lance Olsen, San Diego State University Press (San Diego, CA), 1996. Contributor to periodicals, including Academic Computing, American Book Review, College English, Computers and Composition, Feed,Issues in Higher Education, North Dakota Quarterly, PostModern Culture, and Writing on the Edge. Member of editorial board, Prison Arts, 1976, WPA: Journal for Writing Program Administrators, 1977-79, Computers and Composition, 1992—, Electronic Journal of Virtual Culture, 1993—, and Works and Days, 1995—.

SIDELIGHTS: Michael Joyce is a versatile writer who is best known for his hypertext fiction. Among his hypertext achievements is afternoon, a story, which is an interactive work of fiction centering on an insecure poet who fears that his wife and child may have perished in an automobile accident. Robert Coover, writing in the New York Times Book Review, described afternoon, a story as "a graceful and provocative work."

Joyce once told CA: "In 1982, I had published a prizewinning, small-press novel, The War outside Ireland, and, like any novelist, I knew that it was an awful thing to have to type successive drafts, and a worse thing to discover, midway in the last draft, that something on page 265 would work wonderfully on page seven. I believed that a word processor would allow me an option for making such changes.

"Immediately, I discovered that what I really wanted to do was not merely move a paragraph from page 265 to page seven but to do so almost endlessly. I wanted, quite simply, to write a novel that would change in successive readings, and to make those changing versions according to the connections which I had for some time naturally discovered in the process of writing, and which I wanted my readers to share. In my eyes paragraphs on many different pages could just as well go with paragraphs on many other pages, although with different effects and for different purposes. All that kept me from doing so was the fact that, in print at least, one paragraph inevitably follows another. It seemed to me that if I, as author, could use a computer to move paragraphs about, it wouldn't take much to let readers do so according to some scheme I had predetermined and which they could shape.

"By that time, I had begun to read numerous computer magazines, and sometimes even begun to understand an occasional word or sentence in at least the ads. At any rate, I found in some obscure computer magazine a thoroughly frightening article about a woman, Natalie Dehn, at the Yale Artificial Intelligence Lab who was trying to teach computers to write novels. Her face seemed kind so I wrote her a letter and asked her to tell me, please, where I could buy a computer program that would let me write novels that changed every time someone read them. She wrote me back an eight-page letter which explained how this was impossible and would be for twenty years, and argued—vociferously and much more ably than most literary critics I know—for the virtues of linearity in prose fiction, and for the aesthetic function of constrained choices in imagination. I began a long correspondence with Natalie, which resulted in my invitation to Yale and, more importantly, in her suggestion that I contact Jay Bolter, a curious combination of classicist and computerist, who she said had previously been a visiting fellow there, and who was 'also crazy,' and was interested in using computers to tell stories in the way Homer did. My correspondence with Jay led to foundation funding of my sabbatical and our initial work (with John B. Smith) on our hypertext program, Storyspace, while I was visiting at Yale.

"By the end of my Yale year Bolter and I had a (mostly) working version of Storyspace which, in January, 1986, I began to use with developmental writing (what used to be called remedial or college preparatory writing) students and soon after also began to use with my creative writing students. Storyspace enabled me to write a hyperfiction, afternoon, a story, which changes every time you read it and which in some sense defined the beginning of a new literature (albeit a transitory one in an uncertain medium)."



Bolter, Jay David, Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing, Lawrence Erlbaum (Hillsdale, NJ), 1991.

Landow, George, Hypertext: The Convergence ofContemporary Critical Theory and Technology, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1992.

Landow, George, editor, Hyper/Text/Theory, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1994.


Choice, March, 2001, J. E. Gates, review of Other-mindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture, p. 1264.

College English, February, 1998, Charles Moran, review of Of Two Minds: Hypertext, Pedagogy, and Poetics, p. 202.

Computers and the Humanities, August, 1996, Epen Aarseth, review of Of Two Minds, p. 343.

Details, October, 1994, pp. 162-65, 199.

Drama Review, spring, 1993.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), September 5, 1993.

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, March, 2000, John Eldard, review of Page to Screen: Taking Literacy into the Electronic Era, p. 103.

MacWorld, January, 1991.

Modern Fiction Studies, winter, 1996, James J. Sosnoski, review of Of Two Minds, p. 938.

Newsweek, February 27, 1995, p. 71.

New York Times Book Review, June 21, 1992, pp. 1, 23-25; August 29, 1993, Robert Coover, review of afternoon: a story, pp. 1, 8-12.

Poets and Writers, March-April, 1994, pp. 20-27.

Publishers Weekly, August 5, 2002, review of Liam'sGoing, p. 52.

Scientific American, October, 1995; January, 1996, N. Katherine Hayles, review of Of Two Minds, p. 104.

Spin, July, 1994, p. 79.

Technical Communication, February, 2000, John Eldard, review of Page to Screen, p. 103.

Utne Reader, March-April, 1994, pp. 131-132.

Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1994, p. A8.

Washington Post Book World, July 11, 1993.

Whole Earth Review, spring, 1991.


McPherson and Company: Great Books for GreatReaders, (November 4, 2002), publisher's description of Liam's Going.

State University of New York Press Web Site, (November 4, 2002), interview with Michael Joyce.*

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Joyce, Michael 1945-

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