What counts as the beginning of a new literary work? The author’s first idea for a plot? His first draft? Does a story begin anew each time a reader reads it? John Barth has experimented with beginnings—multiple, repeating, indefinite—in many of his fictions. Here are several kinds of Barthian beginnings: an unfinished novel called “The New Science”; Barth’s “frame-tales” notecards with story-structure outlines; and notebooks from various stages of his career.