Wednesday, June 29, 2005


One of the highlights of what may have been the short-flowering London summer was Ted Nelson's 68th birthday barbecue at Frode's. During the festivities Ted announced that the occasion also marked the tenth anniversary of Wired's publication of Gary Wolf's article about his work ("the longest running vaporware project in the history of computing") and that he was just about ready now to issue his definitive rebuttal.

I'm in the midst of reading Wolf's piece, which raises all sorts of juicy issues about the role of iconoclastic thinkers and their thoughts, which I shall address piecemeal in this blog over the next period of output.

In one respect at least Ted and I are kindred spirits - hoarders of meanings and associations. Though in my case I have found that this medium has at least allowed me to undertake at least a partial digestion - the essentially unfinished nature of the weblog is a benediction in this respect. (Hence "circling around the object of contemplation".)

Right now I'm trying to think of other major cultural contributors that have either been serial gestators/non-completers or whose actual output represents a sequence of limited spin-offs from a magnum opus that never made it out of their heads. Any suggestions?

In the world of literature Robert Musil springs to mind. Gogol's Dead Souls is another famously incomplete vision, part published and part immolated when its author literally lost the plot.

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