Landow on the Uniqueness of Hypertext

Landow sees the effect of hypertext as primarily a shift in attention.. In Hypertext he writes:

Hypertext, which is a fundamentally intertextual system, has the ability to emphasise intertextuality in a way that page-bound text in books cannot.

As we have already observed, scholarly books offer an obvious example of explicit hypertextuality in nonelectronic form. Conversely, any work of literature--which for the sake of argument and economy I shall here confine in a most arbitrary way to mean "high" literature of the sort we read and teach in universities--offers an instance of implicit hypertext in nonelectronic form. Take Joyce's Ulysses as an example. If one looks,say, at the Nausicaa section, in which Bloom watches Gerty McDowell on the beach, one notes that Joyce's text here "alludes" or "refers" (the terms we usually employ) to many other texts or phenomena that one can treat as texts, including the Nausicaa section of the Odyssey, the advertisements and articles in the women's magazines that suffuse and inform Gerty's thoughts, facts about contemporary Dublin and the Catholic Church, and material that relates to other passages within the novel. Again, a hypertext presentation of the novel links this section not only to the kinds of materials mentioned but also to other works in Joyce's career, critical commentary, and textual variants. Hypertext here permits one to make explicit, though not necessarily intrusive, the linked materials that an educated reader perceives surrounding it.

Thais Morgan suggests that intertextuality, "as a structural analysis of texts in relation to the larger system of signifying practices or uses of signs in culture," shifts attention from the triad constituted by author/work/tradition to another constituted by text/discourse/culture." In so doing, "intertextuality replaces the evolutionary model of literary history with a structural or synchronic mo as a sign system. The most salient effect of this strategic change is to free the text from psychological, sociological, and historical determinisms, opening it up to an apparently infinite play of relationships."
(Hypertext p. 10)


Is hypertext really different from print text? Print is intertextual too. Does it matter?
What's Special about Hypertext on the WWWeb? A brief argument that hypertext is qualitatively different on the Web.
Brent's Law on the effects of media A somewhat different take on media effects.
Postmodern Critical Theory A background note.

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