Essay on Hypertext and Literature

Essay on Hypertext and Literature

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Hypertext and Literature

     Hypertext is changing the way we read, write and conceptualize literature. Traditionally, the distance between reader and writer with written works is maintained by multiple levels of people, paper and time. Once a piece of work is published, the writer's responsibility basically ends; meanwhile, the reader is still responsible for knowing and understanding all of the references the writer includes in the work. Hypertext creates a hyper-extension of the work, basically giving it a life of its own. A printed book is unable to recreate this same detailed precision and accessibility because of its physicality. A published book cannot be recalled instantly in order to make any changes or update information, unless it is reprinted and there is always a defined amount of time involved. Hypertext has the ability to link a multitude of related subject matters and authors, while incorporating a variety of techniques, such as sound and movement, to involve and extend the relationship between readers and writers.


Marshall McLuhan writes, "The alphabet and print technology fostered and encouraged a fragmenting process, a process of specialism and of detachment. Electric technology fosters and encourages unification and involvement" (8). With the added dimensions hypertext provides, a piece of literature is capable of evolving into the multi-dimensional realm of sight, sound, movement and tactility. Researching information related to a topic, such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, for example, offers an interesting sample of the evolution of literary resources on the WWW. One such site, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, not only offers scholarly information with images, but also inc...

... middle of paper ...

...ypertexted documents offer an interaction for the reader that was not possible before. The interconnection creates a unifying effect between the reader and writer where the reader of literature plays a role once reserved only for the writer.


Works Cited

Blavatsky, H.P. "The Key to Theosophy: Glossary."

KeyToTheosophy/index.html (7 Dec. 1997).


Graves, Robert, and Raphael Patai. "Hebrew Myths."

~humm/Topics/Lilith/ (31 Jan. 1997).


"Homer's Odyssey CD-ROM Prototype."

odyssey/index.html (12 Feb. 1997).


McLuhan, Marshall, and Quentin Fiore. The Medium is the Massage. New York:

Random House, 1967.


Woodbridge, Kim. "Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley."

~kwbridge/maryshel.html (15 Feb. 1997).


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