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Genealogy of Mystory

Robert Ray, in an essay on Edward Hopper and cinema, written for the Whitney Museum, identifies the genealogy of mystory, the genre associated with heuretics. It dates back to Proust's dream of a hybrid genre, a genre described by Barthes as "a combination of the Essay's 'What does it mean?' [commentary which produces interpretation] and the Novel's 'What might come before or after this incident?' [affabulation which produces narrative]" (Ray 4).

But, we might ask, how can we presume to create a text that Proust, before he wrote A la Recherche du temps perdu, only glimpsed?

Ray suggests this answer: The kind of thinking required by heuretics, for writing a good mystory, is enabled by electronic literacy. "Research in the form of a spectacle" is what Jean-Luc Godard calls it. He recalls that Truffaut said, "Cinema...is spectacle--Méliès--and research--Lumiére" (181). Just as surely as oral cultures validate memory, linking it to wisdom, and print cultures validate rational argument, linking it to intelligence, electronic cultures are now beginning to validate composition--the ability to construct picto-ideo-phonographic texts--linking it to invention. Heuretics proposes a methodology for exercising the cognitive operations necessary for functioning within a new electronic paradigm, for defining literacy anew.

To learn more about this methodology, meet Ulmer's CATTt and investigate these sites devoted to "mystory."

Or you could look at a bunch of examples: