November 5, 2012

Can't Forget the Book

After reading Landlow's Hypertext and Critical Theory, one particular quote stood out to me the most. One must recognize "...the enormous power of the book, for only after we have made ourselves conscious of the ways it has informed our lives can we seek to pry ourselves from some of its limitations" (47).

What I liked about this reading was how Landlow recognized the cultural shift toward hypertext and online media, but still acknowledged the importance of the printed word. There is no denying that we live in a technologically driven society, so it only makes sense that hypertext is becoming the norm. Landlow defines hypertext as "composed of bodies of linked texts that have no primary axis of organization" (36). All hypertext systems allow the reader to choose their own center of investigation based on individual memories or experiences. 

Hypertexts are rooted in networks, which Landlow defines in four different ways: (1) "one kind of electronically linked electronic equivalent to a printed text"; (2) "any gathering of lexias" ; (3) "an electronic system involving additional computers as well as cables or wire connections that permit machines to share information"; (4) "entirety of all those terms for which there is no term and for which other terms stand until something better comes along" (42-43). The idea of a network is rooted in hyper-textual critical theory, where it is common to reject linearity in form and explanation--a move away from print media. 

The shift is inevitable, but it is extremely important to remember and fully understand the implications the printed book had on our understanding of discourse in the first place.  

1 comment:

Adam Schwartz said...

I agree with you completely. As a culture that is based on advancing technology, we are destined for hypertexts to become the norm as a way of obtaining information. The printed book was definitely the reason why we are able to understand discourse, but everything at one point in time needs a tune up. The reason for the move to hypertext is definitely related to its ability to allows the reader to choose their own center of investigation and interpret things their own way.

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