November 5, 2012

Landow Hypertext: A blessing or a beast?

While expecting to hear another theorist just rant about the cons of new age media and the effect its having on the text of old, Landow gives an interesting insight into the definition and usage of a hypertext. I had no personal thoughts into hypertext before reading this piece. I'm used to the term but just throw it out as a computer term, never pondering the actual literary concepts. Now i know hypertext is a a intertextual system that in essence extends the boundaries of text thanks to its digital advantages. I took a minute to think about the term accentuate. Exactly how does this accentuate intertexuality in a way that a non-hypertext couldn't? What makes a hypertext better than a footnote? In essence, he argues for the fact that it creates a web of texts that a reader can sort through to create their own meaning.

This transcends into the argument of affective fallacy as we judge the importance of a hypertext based on a readers effect upon reading so. The argument is valid yet not my preferred choice. While i admire the fact that hypertext can alter meanings and brings readers into their own revelations and focuses, I feel it is the author job to manipulate hypertext in a way that supports his prose. In doing so you eliminate room for alternate meanings. As Landow states, "It blurs the distinction between author and reader." I don't agree with these blended ideals, too much room for interpretation creates confusion.

However, I must agree with Landow on his argument of a cultural shift. He considers book no more of a technology than what deem technology today. Instead of holding books on a sacred pedestal we must recognize them as the only source of communication in the past and recognize we have moved on to greater technologies. This just makes it seem as if technology welcomes in a new age of thought that is very interpretational based on the reader and the web of hypertext.

Imagining a world without hypertext is a world we have lived in before. Even the concept of it. Can the bible be considered one without any intertexuality? I think a world without is one where every reading has one standard meaning. There is no room for an active reader, just one that can listen.
Based on its cultural significance and the fact that it is so prevalent n the overall meaning of text makes it important as its own critical theory but in my opinion I'm not an overall fan of it.

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