I am so trying to keep a positive mindset with this book:).  There is a lot of technical writing and words that I am unfamiliar with.  Here is what I have managed to squeak out of him so far (suggestions and comments are super! welcome):

Ironically, texts tend to be a somewhat database in and of themselves.  The words in a text are used to categorize, systemize, and organize texts within databases.  Words used can conjure meaning, which in turn conjures a picture, which in turn conjures a setting, etc. (semiotics at work, right?)  But are we limited to how our long term memory is indexed?  It would be interesting to reflect upon how the storage and retrieval of information interacts with McGann’s argument. 

This draws me back to the experimental narrative _House of Leaves_, by Danielewski – it is a visual and textual indexing of plot, information, documents, images, and words as a dialogue (more thoughts on this hopefully after class when I have a fuller understanding).  Taking the indexes, bibliographies, and possibly even footnotes into consideration, all of these lend to what I still feel is the human nature (maybe desire is a better term) to fit items into categories/slots/spots/etc.  Is this performative…categorical organization based on what something look likes, feels like, reads like, etc.?  Judith Butler may say so.  I feel McGann is arguing that even words in texts can’t escape this determination.

Deformance breaks this down for us (or so I hope).  I call it “the onion peel from aesthetics to systemics.”  We can superficially interpret a text as just a combination of words on a piece of paper, but we can also peel the layers away to see how it “transforms” (he gives some very technical, HTML/mark up examples in the text) from words with literal meaning (1’s and 0’s possibly) to a performative meaning (philosophic, academic, etc.).  From what I am told about 0’s and 1’s, we could even go as far as to discuss what they “really” stand for.  Hmm.

Sorry if this may be off topic or ramblish – I am working on it:).