“As modern as tomorrow afternoon”– Call for Essays 2017

In the mid-nineties, when Hypermedia Joyce Studies was established, whenever one wished to get online, this involved  switching on the computer well in advance, making sure the speakers were off and then clicking on the AOL icon. One could then go and have a snack, do some laundry, wash the dishes, plant a new flower bed and then…well, we all remember those days.

Joyce predicted those days in the Wake, and several of the descriptions of technologies encapsulate the very experience of waiting for a dial-up internet connection. The most prominent comes in II.3, where Joyce promotes the “tolvtubular high fidelity daildialler” which is “as modern as tomorrow afternoon and in appearance up to the minute” (1975, 309). He mentions “key clickings,” “skybuddies” and a sense of mobility, all of which give a sense of our present reality looking at screens and connecting to one another well detached from even where we are. In many ways our present reality has come to be governed not just by the internet, but subsequently by the question of “whenabouts are we in the name of space?” (1975, 558).

For this year’s issue of HJS, the call goes out for papers that look at two things in particular, communication and contemporary forward-thinking. If Joyce presaged the kind of mobile internet universe that we live in today, how does he do “communication” and how does it connect to the means today? This should be open enough to consider not only narration, reader-response (physically, perhaps, and mentally) and technologies, but also the simple question of what we communicate to Joyce’s writing today.

The second part is a purposefully awkward phrase. Joyce’s “daildialler” is simultaneously just a day ahead and every bit as much a manifestation of everything before, “up to the minute.” The question here centers on the extent to which Joyce and his writing are seen in the writing of the last cca twenty years and how much those authors also look ever a bit forward as much as they hearken to the past.

In the first issue of HJS, the call for papers asked that they be delivered either via e-mail or by a posted 3.5” diskette. This time around, although the questions are as they are, e-mail (whenaboutz@gmail.com) is much preferred to tweets, instant messages or Youtube videos. Though if you are so inclined…

Please send submissions no later than the first week of June.