Hypertext has exploded into our literate world and here we remain: the same people, the same dirt and soil we’ve always known, the same surroundings, the same life we had yesterday. Unchanged, unaffected, undisturbed? Absolutely not. We are experiencing a cultural shift and an equally transformative revolution in consciousness in large part because of this elusive, mysterious, intelligence we call hypertext. What is this “thing” that is supposedly changing your life, you may be wondering? Hypertext, as termed by George Landow, is “an information technology consisting of individual blocks of text, or lexias, and the electronic links that join them” (Landow 1). The point- and-click way of life we are now submersed in and take as common place has not only invaded the way we shop, plan vacations, or research, but it has seeped into that idealistic leather-bound favorite collecting dust on the bookshelf. It has revolutionized the novel, or for that matter, everything that contains a printed word. Hypertext has not just befallen our society but has evolved out of the continuum of various communication customs our world has experienced. Although still a new, ever-changing and advancing facet of life, hypertext can be examined in terms of our cultural history. Starting from a pre-literate or oral culture and moving to where our culture resides currently, hypertext can be deemed as moving one step further away from reality or coming full circle back to where it all began. Such is the most interesting aspect of this literate/cyber reality: one does not yet know if its movement is forward or reverse. What we do know, however, is that, as our society changes, it also transforms our relation to the world.
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...e to make radical changes in the reading site of electronic texts" (Landow 5). We are just embarking on a new culture that is constantly changing and unpredictable. I found myself on the edge of my seat, eagerly anticipating the next screen, just as if I were reading a book. I almost forgot where I was sitting and the medium from which I read. Hypertext has broken the rules of our traditional print culture where linear structure has been replaced by a nonlinear networked web - which has proven to be enticing, exciting, and innovative. As of now it does not replace printed texts as we know them, but we can no longer deny its speedy expansion and power, nor the implications it has for how we orient ourselves to reality. Everything is slowly changing and it is starting with the basics, from how we answer the question "what is a tree?" to how we read a book.
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