Jane Douglas no tiene página web propia, entonces no hubiera podido
recoger mucha información sobre ella para el trabajo, pero encontré
su dirección de correo electrónico y decidí escribirle
para ver si me contestaba y poder hacerle preguntas para el trabajo.
Recuerdo que le escribí un martes y al día siguiente ya me
había contestado, este fue el primer e-mail que le escribí y
lo que me contestó ella:
My name is Patricia and I'm studying English Filology in the University
of Valencia (Spain).
In one of my subjects (Hipertexts and English Literature), we have to
do a paper about an hipertext writer and one of his/her plays; and I
choose to do the paper about you and your play "The end of books or
books without end".
To do my best in this paper, I would like to put a lot of information
about you and the context of the play, because it is the most important
thing to do in this paper, a paper about the author and his/her
So, I would like you to aswer my e-mail with all the information you
want to tell me.
Thank you for your time.
Actually, The End of Books... is a non-fiction work about how hypertext
narratives work--why readers enjoy them (or don't), how they make sense
them, how they're sometimes like print novels and sometimes not. The
hypertext fiction piece I wrote is "I Have Said Nothing." Neither is a
Since my Spanish is confined to about twelve words and even my French
infinitely less serviceable than your English, I suspect your using "play"
is a translation error.
What specific questions do you have?
J. Yellowlees Douglas
Department of English
PO Box 117310
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-7310
Como véis no me supe expresar bien a la hora de escribirle, pero
ella amablemente me corrigió. Después del e-mail que me mandó
escribí una serie de preguntas para que las contestara y ella las
First, I would like to apologize for my English because I'm just a
beginner. And sorry for using the word "play" y this case.
The book I'm reading is The end of books..., and I know that it's not
an hypertext. But the paper is about the author and the context of the
I will make you some questions to put them into my paper:
- Where and when were you born?
- Where did you grow up?
- Where do you live now?
- What did you study?
- What do you do now?
- Where have you worked throughout you life?
- What are your future plans?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you like and dislike?
- When did you start writing?
- What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of writing in
hypertext and distributing it over the world wide web?
- What are you working on next?
ABOUT THE BOOK
- In what situation did you write that book?
- What do you think about the politic situation in your country? Make
some comparisons with the politic situation when your were writing the
- How was your experience writting the hypertext fiction piece "I have
said nothing"? Is it something comparable to writing a book?
Thanks for all your help.
Actually, your English is very impressive--far better than my non-existent
Spanish or my ailing French!
> - Where and when were you born?
I was born 25 June 1962 in Detroit, Michigan.
> - Where did you grow up?
> I grew up in what is now a suburb of Detroit, a place called Farmington
When I first moved there, it was very rural with dirt roads and wells.
it's a city that's very developed and suburban.
> - Where do you live now?
I live in a place called Morriston, Florida, a tiny little town that doesn't
even have a traffic light, only a post office. I have a small farm where
> - What did you study?
I got my first two degrees in English from the University of Michigan.
degree was in English Language and Literature. My MA degree was in English,
too, but I mainly studied cinema and literary theory. I got my PhD from
York University, where I studied a whole bunch of things--cinema studies,
aesthetics and education, before I ended up getting my doctorate in English
> - What do you do now?
I'm an associate professor at the University of Florida, where I am one
the directors of a campus-wide writing program. I supervise 68 teachers
teach first-year college composition, plus professional communication
courses for students in business and engineering. I also teach a course
faculty and physicians in the College of Medicine.
> - Where have you worked throughout you life?
Ah, a good question--I've had a ton of different jobs. I worked as a ghost
writer on a book, as a dark room technician, developing pictures. I also
worked as a publisher's production assistant and as a consultant for law
firms. I then worked as a copywriter in advertising for eleven years for
advertising agency in London, although we later set up branches in New
and Philadelphia. I also worked as a sociologist at Brunel University
London, then as the director of a program in professional writing at the
City University of New York, where I was also an assistant professor.
became the director of a program for writing in the disciplines at the
University of Florida, then associate professor of English. I also worked
for four years in a health club and I owned a large Thoroughbred horse
> - What are your future plans?
I'm working on three books at the moment: two on using methods from
cognitive psychology to teach people how to write well, one that's a novel.
I also finished a novel last year that I'm trying to get
published--difficult in the US market, where there's lots of competition!
> - What are your hobbies?
Running, biking, weight-lifting, pets, reading, swimming, and writing.
> - What do you like and dislike?
I dislike living in the suburbs, since you have people all around you
no privacy and no anonymity. I really prefer to either live in the middle
a very large city, like New York City or London, both places where I've
spent many years, or really far out in the countryside, like I live now.
I also can't stand people who are racist or prejudiced and who don't like
try new things. And people who complain all the time but don't do anything
about their problems.
> - When did you start writing?
> I bought my first typewriter at a garage sale when I was seven. I
little stories even before then. I started writing a lot more when I was
college and decided that writing on hypertext was a new, exciting area,
since those of us involved in the field were kind of making things up
> - What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of writing
> hypertext and distributing it over the world wide web?
> You get a very large readership--people teach things I've written
all over the world. When I do occasional searches to see where people
using my work, I see they're teaching it in Australia, Italy, Spain,
Germany, Poland, Norway, England, Canada, Hong Kong, and France. On the
other hand, you tend to make next to nothing in terms of money on what
you've done. Since professors don't tend to make much money from their
writing, anyway, this really hasn't hurt me.
> - What are you working on next?
I'm almost done with one book on writing; the other book on writing will
for a mass audience. And I'm also publishing on management and technology
the business field. I've written some articles with a colleague who's
specialist in technology management, and we work very well together. One
our articles has made him famous in his field!
> ABOUT THE BOOK
> - In what situation did you write that book?
The book grew out of my doctoral dissertation. One publisher liked it
much, they wanted to publish it with my making any changes. But I wanted
make the book more fun to read, so I rewrote the entire book. The publisher
didn't like the book being accessible to non-specialized readers, so I
up my contract and sent the book to another publisher. Since time passed
between the first contract and the second contract on the book, I added
chapters before the University of Michigan published it.
> - What do you think about the politic situation in your country?
> some comparisons with the politic situation when your were writing
I'm embarrassed to be an American just now--most of us think George W.
is an idiot who is throwing America's weight around everywhere. I also
his administration is very corrupt. I wrote most of the book when I was
in New York temporarily to write the book but still living permanently
London. The USA seemed so right-wing then that I wasn't certain I ever
wanted to come back to the USA. But Clinton was elected when I was living
London, and I loved living in New York, so I moved back to the USA after
years of living in England. Given a choice, I'd like to live in the South
France or Southern Italy for a while. I think Europeans, particularly
Spaniards, the French, and Italians, really know how to enjoy life.
> - How was your experience writting the hypertext fiction piede "I
> said nothing"? Is it something comparable to writing a book?
Actually, the main story in "I Have Said Nothing" is based on something
really did happen to my brother. I tried writing the piece as fiction,
couldn't get it to work. Someone I knew in publishing was trying to get
project using short hypertext fiction off the ground, so I agreed to write
few pieces for it. The first one was the core of "I Have Said Nothing"
was too dark and violent for the project my colleague had in mind. I knew
this, and I wrote something else for it, but I kept working on the first
piece. I had a publisher, Eastgate, which was interested in publishing
and they made it part of a series of pieces of hypertext fiction and poetry
Writing good hypertext is totally different from writing fiction. I think
readers of hypertext want short, bite-sized pieces of text to read and
interesting connections. The trick with print fiction is to make things
smooth and continuous, even when you're jumping forward and backward in
I'm very impressed that you're doing an assignment like this one for
class--in English, no less. Did you have to read the book as well?
En el último e-mail que intercambiamos yo le pregunté cómo
acceder a su hipertexto y ella simplemente me contestó que era privado
y lo que tenía que hacer para descargarlo, el precio, etc.
Y, entonces yo le escribí unas cuantas preguntas para que las contestara
sobre su hipertexto "I Have Said Nothing", y aún estoy esperando su