October 13, 2023
The first shot was fired when Eskelinen declared “Hypertext is dead. Cybertext killed it” at the 1999 Digital Arts and Culture conference, which Hayles responded to in Cyber|literature and Multicourses: Rescuing Electronic Literature from Infanticide. The bitter custody battle between hypertext theory and cybertext over the burgeoning field of electronic litterature is now a matter of the past, although it got heated due to the provocations of Eskelinen, whose inflammatory prose in Cybertext Theory: What An English Professor Should Know Before Trying (hopefully, it will be the first and last time someone uses the terms ‘forrestgumpian’ or ‘montypythonesque’ on ebr) keeps drawing riPOSTes, with half of his corpus on ebr being responses to his provocations. Eskelinen: truly ahead of his time with his mastery of internet discourse.