November 5, 2012

Hypertext, digital and print media.

Landow writes that “Derrida and other critical theorists […] describe the new economy of reading and writing with electronic virtual, rather than physical, forms. Derrida properly recognizes […] that a new, freer, richer form of text, one truer to our potential experience […] depends upon discrete reading units” (33).

I find it interesting that Landow places so much emphasis on digital formats. Throughout the essay it seems to me that for Landow, the most important aspect of hypertext (in digital form) is its ability to reach the audience in a natural way. Because hypertext is nonlinear, it “permits the individual reader to choose his or her own center of investigation and experience” (38). In print, hypertext seems to be limited in that it draws the reader’s attention to certain material without allowing them to access it directly.

While print media may be more difficult to navigate than digital media, I don’t think that it should be seen as constraining for the reader. And I don’t think that digital media allows the reader absolute freedom, either. In the relationship between the author/reader/text, the author/reader/text are always nudging each other. If hypertext gives more power to the reader, then it also gives more power to the author who composes the material and undoubtedly suggests how it should be read.

1 comment:

Karlyn Mckell said...

I somewhat agree with Landow, that print is more constraining than Internet hypertext. The only reason I see it this way is because, as I discussed in my post, the Internet allows for hypertext to come from "unpublished" sources. As Landow discussed, the Internet somewhat diminishes "hierarchy of texts" that print media does not. The Internet allows for more opinions to be voiced and voices to be heard. In order of constraint, I thnk it depends on the hypertext, because of course some Internet hypertexts only source published texts, meaning they would be equally as constraining as print text. But just. Because of possibility alone, I thnk the Internet allows the hypertext to be more than what a print text can be.

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