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Photos of the Folio, CD, and Flash Drive and Their Contents for Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl
Photos of the folio, CD re-release, and flash drive re-release and their contents for Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl
This section of Pathfinders contains 23 images of Shelley Jackson's folio, CD, and flash drive ofPatchwork Girl. The photos detail the material aspect of the work and show the information that readers glean from its presentation.
1. Floppy disk, 3 1/2," both original folio and re-release version
3. CD, .047" thick and 3.150" in diameter
4. Flash Drive, 2014 re-release
5. Registration cardShelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl, by Mary/Shelley and Herself was published in 1995 by Eastgate Systems as a 9-inch by 6-inch folio made of heavy card stock. When opened, the folio reveals a pocket on each side. The pocket on the left contains the 3.5-inch diskette of the work, along with a registration card. Diskettes were of "HD" capacity (either 720 kilobytes or 1.4 megabytes), formatted for Macintosh or Windows (MS-DOS), since at this point the two operating systems used exclusive data systems. A notation on the reverse of the folio (see image of Folio Back, below) indicates the operating system. There is no indication on the diskette itself.
The pocket on the right side of the folio holds the back page of a 16-page booklet that gives directions for "Getting Started." The look of the folio with its front and back cover and interior paper contents resembles a book environment and, thus provided a breadcrumb leading readers from the world of print to the world of the digital where they were headed with electronic literature. Note that the folio has a minimal spine of about one-eighth inch, sufficient for main title of the work, author's name, and publisher's name, and so may be shelved like a book. A note on the verso of the folio credits Eric Cohen with "jacket design."
The front of the folio shows a title page in the manner of a 19th-century novel such as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Jackson's full title and description of the work is: "PATCHWORK GIRL, by Mary/Shelley and Herself, a graveyard, a journal, a quilt, a story, & broken accents." The list identifies the major sections of the hypertext. The author's name, Shelley Jackson, follows this list, separated by a decorative graphic. Below the main title is a collaged monochrome graphic, presumably created by Eric Cohen, assembled from four images of women in portrait pose, modified by various digital processes that evoke the allotropic "patchwork" process by which Jackson's title character -- and her text itself -- come together. The cover is rendered in black ink over a sepia background that resembles a photographically magnified page from an old book. The text, which may come from Frankenstein, appears in a type face that mimics antique handwriting.
The back of the folio continues the book-like design motif, offering contents similar to the back of a traditional print publication. Text on the back of the folio is divided into two parts, upper and lower. The upper part is set off with decorative borders. The upper part begins with an endorsement by Michael Joyce, the first two lines set as headlines, the remainder as centered body text. Joyce's remarks read: "Hypertext's next step... PATCHWORK GIRL is spectacular in every sense (from Rayban to Debordian to Cirque du Soleil). It is embodied writing in the company of Helene Cixous, Carolyn Guyer, Jeannette Winterson, and its progenitor and co-author (the other Shelley) Mary. Jackson weaves aspects of the Frankenstein tale, graphic novels, feminist meditation, and pure storytelling into a riveting work of multiple fiction with a fugue-like poetry and an artist's eye distinctly its (and her) own. This is a work of dream and desire and defying boundaries, an electronic collage, a theatre of windows, and a cyborg song of communion and reunion." --MICHAEL JOYCE." Following Joyce's endorsement is an image of (a young, gamine) Jackson at left, with a thumbnail biography of the author at right. The text reads: "A self-described 'student of the art of digression,' Shelley Jackson holds an AB in studio art from Stanford University and an MFA in creative writing from Brown University. Her work has appeared in Degenerative Prose and various journals, including Conjunctions. She has written and illustrated a children's book, The Old Woman and the Wave, to be published by Orchard Books." The lower part of the folio back, below the decorative border, begins with a line specifying the disk format (Windows or Macintosh) and advising that either configuration "Requires 2 MB RAM and a hard disk drive." The format selection is indicated with a circular white appliquée. Publisher's information follows: Published by Eastgate Systems, Inc. 134 Main Street Watertown, MA 02172 (800) 562-1638 (617) 924-9044 Adjacent to this information, on the right, is the ISBN-10 code for the work, running vertically: 1-884511-23-6. Immediately to the right of the ISBN-10 is an inset barcode.
The opened folio reveals a slot, or pocket, on the left hand side where the diskette is kept. The inside, left-hand side of the folio's cover advertises Diane Greco's Cyborg: Engineering the Body Electric and provides copyright information for Patchwork Girl. The work is copyrighted 1995 by Shelley Jackson, with all rights reserved. Cover art and documentation are copyrighted by Eric Cohen. Trademark recognition is given for Macintosh and Windows. Publisher information is given here also. On the right hand side is the 16-page booklet that contains directions for reading Patchwork Girl on both Windows and Macintosh. Also included in the booklet is a biographical sketch of Shelley Jackson and information about where to get answers to technical problems.
Folio, Booklet, Removed
At right is a page advertising the Storyspace Hypertext Writing Environment, the system used to produce Patchwork Girl and other Eastgate titles, some of which are listed in a box at right (Patchwork Girl, A Dream with Demons, afternoon, Victory Garden, Socrates in the Labyrinth, and Cyborg: Engineering the Body Electric).
The covers of the included booklet are printed on thin card stock, with the interior pages on letter stock. Ink is black throughout. The cover of the booklet repeats the folio cover, minus the sepia-toned background and faux-antique text.
Booklet, Table of Contents
At the top of the first page is a list of Contents: Getting Started with Patchwork Girl (one section each for Macintosh and Windows), About the Author, and Questions. Immediately following are Acknowledgements: "The author would like to thank George P. Landow, Dan Russell, and Robert Coover for their help in the composition of Patchwork Girl."
The back cover of the booklet repeats publisher information. It also includes a second indicator of operating-system format, this one including an option for "Both" Windows and Macintosh.
Floppy Disk, Front
The 3 1/2" diskette containing Patchwork Girl is a double-sided, high density unit marked with the legend "HD" on the black plastic casing. The front of the disk has a white label overlapping onto the reverse, 2 1/4" of the front and 1/2" of the back. The front part of the label shows the title, printed in two lines centered, with author's name directly below it in italic capitals. Underneath is a red containing the text "SERIOUS HYPERTEXT from." Beneath this line and words is the Eastgate logo (a drawing of a stone arch) and contact information for the company. All lettering on the label is in a dark red ink.
Floppy Disk, Back
The label on the reverse of the floppy disk reads, "Copyright © 1995 by Shelley Jackson © 1992-95 by Eastgate Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized distribution or sale of this material is expressly prohibited."
This is the packaging for a re-published version of Patchwork Girl brought out after all copies of the initial version had been exhausted. The package includes diskette and booklet shrink-wrapped against a cardboard backing.
The reverse of the re-release packaging is blank.
Re-Release Booklet, Front
The re-release booklet is identical to the booklet included in the original release.
Re-Release Booklet, Table of Contents
The re-release booklet is identical to the booklet included in the original release.
Re-Release Floppy, Front
Diskette included in the re-release packaging shows small differences from the initial release version (beige color, embossed "HD" indicator), but is essentially identical.
Re-Release Floppy, Back
Diskette included in the re-release packaging is essentially identical to original release.
CD Re-Release, Front
The CD-ROM version of Patchwork Girl was released in 2001, as the standard design of personal computers no longer included a diskette drive. the Compact Disk is readable by both Macintosh and Windows systems. The cover art (most likely by Eric Cohen) suggests two patches of skin connected by a line of fine sutures. (This image has the unfortunate effect of also looking like a crack in the CD, at first glance.) The title of the work appears in capitals. At left is a copyright statement. Eastgate's copyright date is given as 1992-2001. Author's name appears in large, italic capitals below, followed by publisher information.
CD Re-Release, Back
Reverse of the CD-ROM is blank except for manufacturer's marks.
CD Re-Release Liner, Front
The CD has an updated cover image by Eric Cohen. His original four-part collage now sits in the middle of a three-image stack. It lies over a lighter image that may suggest scarred skin. Over both this and the collage graphic is a darker image with fine graining suggesting unmarked skin. The left edge of this top image is a smooth but irregular curve which on close inspection shows regular indentations, as from surgical sutures. This line cuts through the collage and the lower graphic, giving the overall composition a striking element of depth. The collage graphic remains in black, with the two new layers both rendered in a red-toned sepia. Jackson's name, in italic capitals, appears in the upper left corner of the cover. The main title of the work runs in larger capitals along the bottom of the cover.
CD Re-Release Liner, Back
The graphical background for the reverse of the liner is the same as the front. the image of the author shows a (puckish? pensive?) red-haired Jackson aiming a Polaroid instant camera in our direction. (This image also appears on Jackson's Wikipedia page.) The biographical sketch has been updated to include several publications subsequent to 1995, including three publications on the World Wide Web (My Body, Stitch Bitch, and Musée Mécanique). More print works are also mentioned, including her story collection The Melancholy of Anatomy, which had yet to appear in 2001. "She lives nowhere in particular and specializes in everything."
CD Re-Release Case, Front
Front of the CD case showing liner cover graphic.
CD Re-Release Case, Back
Main title of the work runs across the top of the insert in large capitals. Following this are endorsements. Joyce's earlier text is edited to a single line ("Hypertext's next step... spectacular in every sense"). There is a new endorsement from Robert Coover, exxerpted from his keynote address to the 1999 Digital Arts and Culture Conference: "Perhaps the true paradigmatic work of the era..." Below is the author's name in large bold italics. Following this, the legend "CD for Windows and Macintosh OS," and below that, two paragraphs offering operating system advice, first for Windows and then Macintosh, adjacent to the ISBN and barcode inset. Windows system requirements are listed as "Windows 95, 98, NT, me, 2000, XP, or later: insert this CD into your computer, and run SETUP.EXE to install Patchwork Girl. Requires: 486, Celeron, Pentium, or faster processor." Macintosh advice is: "insert this CD into your computer and double-click the "Patchwork Girl installer" to install Patchwork Girl. Requires Mac OS 6.07 or later. Below these elements, the Eastgate logo flanked at left by contact information, now including an e-mail address, with the Eastgate signature and postal address at right.
CD Re-Release Case, Opened
Reverse of the cover liner at left, CD in case at right.
USB Stick Re-Release, Front
In the fourth quarter of 2014, Eastgate re-issued Patchwork Girl with updated installers and application code compatible with current versions of the Macintosh OS. Anticipating a time when standard personal computers will not include CD drives -- already the case on thin-format laptops -- Eastgate issued the work on a removable storage chip with a plug interface for Universal Serial Bus, referred to in their catalog as a "USB stick," and also popularly known as a thumb drive or flash drive. As of June, 2015, the new release is available only for Macintosh.
USB Stick Release, Back
Reverse of the USB stick. Note the distinctive bamboo casing.
USB Stick Release, Contents
Contents of the USB stick viewed in Mac OS 10.10. Drag-and-drop installation is available for the included version of Patchwork Girl. Note the folders below the installer alias, one each for the "Classic" (pre-OSX) versions of Mac OS, the other for OSX versions prior to 10.7. The PDF document contains a reformatted version of the instruction booklet from the first release.
History of Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl
A historical account of Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl detailing the work's production
The pre-history of Patchwork Girl begins somewhere in the first years of the 1990s, when Shelley Jackson, either still working toward her A.B. in Studio Art from Stanford or having recently finished, asked to sit in on a class at Berkeley taught by the critic Avital Ronell. Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus was on the reading list, and Jackson was impressed by by Ronell's ability to bring contemporary cultural theory into dialogue with a literary classic. Jackson became particularly interested in the gaps, discontinuities, and strategies of resistance that are characteristic of Frankenstein -- as well as its great theme of problematic embodiment and monstrosity.
By 1992-93 Jackson was enrolled in the Creative Writing program at Brown University and decided to take a class with George P. Landow, who in the late 1980s had begun to explore hypertext as an extension and proving ground of poststructuralist theory. Students in Landow's course were required to produce their seminar project as a hypertext. Brown had recently adopted Storyspace, the hypertext writing environment developed by Jay David Bolter, Michael Joyce, and John B. Smith, to replace their own Intermedia system, rendered unusable after Apple dropped support for the version of Unix on which it ran. The text Jackson produced in Storyspace was a meditation on gender, embodiment, textuality, and embodiment, using a strategy of intense cross-linking (possibly with links on nearly every word) to build a fabric of connections across passages of original and quoted material. Traces of this first version survive as the "Broken Accents" thread in the published version.
At some point in 1993, one of Jackson's teachers at Brown, probably either Landow or Robert Coover, showed her project to Mark Bernstein of Eastgate. Bernstein expressed immediate interest in publishing, though Jackson asked to defer, wanting to develop the work independently of its academic context. In particular, she decided to reconsider the over-abundance of links. She began a second draft by eliminating all links from the project, developing a new concept with discrete narrative and thematic threads in which links were used more sparingly and logically. As Jackson would write a little later on: "I see no reason why hypertext can't serve up an experience of satisfying closure not drastically different from that of reading a long and complicated novel, though it will do it differently" ("Stitch Bitch," 1998).
Eastgate published Patchwork Girl on 3.5-inch diskette for Windows and Macintosh in October, 1995, presenting the disk and auxiliary material in a card stock "folio" with design by Eric Cohen. At some point demand for Patchwork Girl exceeded the print run of the folio, so Eastgate shipped new copies in a shrink-wrapped package out of expediency. A second edition was issued in November, 2001 on CD-ROM, also for Windows and Macintosh, with new packaging. As operating systems outgrew its original software framework, Patchwork Girl became unreadable on many contemporary platforms, especially those running 64-bit systems. In the final quarter of 2014, Eastgate remedied this problem for the Macintosh, issuing an updated version on a removable solid-state drive connectable via Universal Serial Bus ("USB stick" or "thumb drive"). The USB edition contains a version of the hypertext compatible with Macintosh OS 10.7 and later, as well as all all previous versions of the work for Macintosh.
Critical reception of Patchwork Girl has been extensive and distinguished. Jackson's work is one of the most studied works of hypertext fiction and arguably the best appreciated. Michael Joyce discussed Jackson's work in "Nonce Upon Some Times," a crucial early attempt to position hypertext fiction vis-a-vis the literary mainstream, appearing in Modern Fiction Studies in 1997. In 1998, two of the most influential literary papers in the academic hypertext literature, Bernstein's "Patterns of Hypertext" and Marjorie Luesebrink's "The Moment in Hypertext," drew crucially on Jackson's text. In 1999, Robert Coover presented Patchwork Girl as the final and paradigmatic example in the early evolution of hypertext fiction, declaring it the last product of a "Golden Age." N. Katherine Hayles took up Patchwork Girl in 2000 in "Flickering Connectivities," an article that would become a key chapter in her study How We Became Posthuman. In 2010, Alice Bell included Patchwork Girl in a comprehensive reconsideration of hypertext fiction. Important articles about the work have also appeared in SubStance, Contemporary Literature, and other leading literary journals.