Literary & Linguistic Computing
Hypertext literature -- Feminist aspects, Judy Malloy (1942- ). Uncle Roger -- Criticism and interpretation, Hypertext literature -- History, Digital humanities
When Robert Coover anointed Michael Joyce the ‘granddaddy’ of hypertext literature in a 1992 New York Times article, it could scarcely have been imagined that this pronouncement would come to define the origin of electronic literature. This short article examines the human and machinic operations obscuring Judy Malloy's Uncle Roger, a hypertext that predates afternoon. Malloy's reputation was stunted because Uncle Roger was algorithmically invisible, a factor that became increasingly important as the Web's commercial capacities matured. afternoon's endurance can be traced to its ISBN, which made afternoon easy for readers to find and united disparate stewards in preserving access to this work. Malloy's programming expertise and the goodwill among hypertext authors were insufficient to protect her against sexist exclusions that, in aggregate, fostered enduring disequilibria. While some male pioneers of hypertext are now full professors, Malloy and other early female hypertext pioneers are adjuncts or are otherwise at a remove from the academic power base. Ironically, Judy Malloy's papers—13,200 items, 15.6 linear feet—are collected at Duke University's Rubenstein Library, but Judy herself still seeks sustained academic employment. This gesture is read in the context of pursuing the digital humanities ‘for love’ in a higher education environment that's increasingly neoliberal in its financial allegiances.
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Published as: Berens, K. I. (2014). Judy Malloy’s seat at the (database) table: A feminist reception history of early hypertext literature. Literary & Linguistic Computing, 29(3), 340–348.