AustLit logo
  • Author:agent John Tranter
Issue Details: First known date: 1991... 1991 'Dogs in All the Unregarded Bales' : Mr Rubenking's 'Breakdown' [sic]
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'BrekDown' is a text analysis and text generation program written in Turbo Pascal for IBM-compatible personal computers, devised in 1985 by the San Francisco programmer Neil J. Rubenking. 'Brekdown' can also blend the styles of two or more texts, and reconstruct a text with the characteristics of this blended style.

The article is accompanied by two examples of this 'robot poetry' - 'What Mortal End' and 'Her Shy Banjo' derived from the works of Matthew Arnold and John Ashbery respectively. Both the titles of these poems and the names of their authors are anagrams of the real poets' names. John Tranter has also written seven prose pieces using this technique, in each case blending two writers into one new creature. They appear in Different Hands (1998).


  • Correct spelling is 'Brekdown'.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Alternative title: Mr. Rubenking's 'Breakdown'[sic] : The Utilisation of Digital Computers in the Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Writing
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Meanjin vol. 50 no. 4 Summer 1991 Z633452 1991 periodical issue 1991 pg. 635-638
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Jacket no. 4 July 1998 Z893990 1998 periodical issue 1998
    Note: With alternative title.
Last amended 14 Oct 2002 13:53:38
Informit * Subscription service. Check your library.
    Powered by Trove