Translating the Virtual -- Michael Joyce's afternoon, a story

This paper will aim to show how Michael Joyce’s hypertext implements a poetics of the virtual defined by the constant interplay between simultaneous, competing aspects of the text, namely the actualized fragments of text displayed on screen and their virtual counterparts which both define and challenge them in the recombinant process of reading. The virtual dynamics of the text—of a text which consequently never quite is what the user accesses but is located somewhere between code and surface—thus question its referentiality, displacing it with a form of interferentiality in the course of which one lexia, momentarily actualized in the reading process, not only interferes with other discrete lexias but, also, with other virtual variants of itself. The task of the translators is thus twofold, for not only do they have to translate the actual text of afternoon, a story—each lexia for itself—but also the virtual text of afternoon, a story—i.e., each lexia both in its relation to the others it is linked with and the way the text that is thus progressively taking shape in the reading process in turn feeds back on and virtualizes it.