Miles on authorial devices

Adrian Miles's point about the fragility of authorial devices questions the effectiveness of any authorial attempt to guide the reader. Should we then abandon all such attempts?

Miles himself does not think so, but he would prefer devices that were semantically open rather than linguistically defined. So, for instance, he approves of spatial hypertext's accumulation of implicit structure. (See Marshall and Shipman 1993, 1994, 1999.)

For the same reason, the "cinematic" enactments that Clara Mancini has analyzed (See Mancini 2000 and 2001) seem promising because they need not be restricted to preset explicit semantic categories. (See Miles 2001, 65-66.)

The navigation devices added to this essay are all linguistic: link lists and types. The experiment shows their usefulness but also their limitations.

Questions for the reader: Do you find yourself using the navigation aids at the bottom of the windows as a way of navigating structure, or as a way of locating unread pages? What do readers want?