By Astrid Ensslin
This leading edge monograph specializes in a modern kind of computer-based literature referred to as 'literary hypertext', a electronic, interactive, communicative type of new media writing. Canonizing Hypertext combines theoretical and hermeneutic investigations with empirical study into the motivational and pedagogic chances of this manner of literature. It makes a speciality of key questions for literary students and academics: How can literature learn in this type of approach as to make it appropriate for an more and more hypermedia-oriented readership? How can the quickly evolving new media be built-in into curricula that also search to transmit 'traditional' literary competence? How can the concept of literary competence be broadened take into consideration those present traits? This research, which argues for hypertext's integration within the literary canon, bargains a serious review of advancements in hypertext idea, an exemplary hypertext canon and an assessment of attainable lecture room purposes.
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Extra resources for Canonizing Hypertext: Explorations and Constructions
Underlying this are algorithmic text production processes, which automatically generate uncountable variants of a previously entered textual body. In cybertext, textons generate scriptons perceived and responded to by the reader, a process which, in its entirety, could be seen as a neo- or cyber-deistic concept, with the programmer 'creating' an organic system and, once it is finished, leaving it to its own mechanistic devices. Other than biological organisms, however, this mechanism is non-autopoietic insofar as it can only work provided that it is operated by a user.
Importantly, on the reader's side a similar set of techno-poetic skills is required in order to guarantee textual appreciation that goes beyond what can be seen on the user interface and takes into account aspects of production and dissemination, as well as the ability to interact with a hypertext system effectively (see Chapter 4). Simanowski's concept of performance, or 'Inszenierung' ('enactment') as he calls it in a later paper (2001a), denotes the performativity of hypertext reception, which is inextricably bound to the moment of reception itself and can therefore only reasonably be explained in terms of an intrinsic approach, coupled with reader-response theory (the latter is neglected by Simanowski).
In that sense, hypertext is an essentially plural concept, not only because it implies, in its most radical form, an infinity of reading paths and, as a result, textual meanings, but because its textuality implies, on the interface level, transsemiotic openness. Hypermedia, short for 'hypertext multimedia' (Nielsen, 1990), is, like 'hypertext', a Nelsonian coinage. Its evolution was boosted by the 1993 invention of Mosaic, the world'sfirstgraphic browser and, following in its wake, the popularization of the World Wide Web with HTML, its major programming language.