Canonizing Hypertext: Explorations and Constructions by Astrid Ensslin

By Astrid Ensslin

This cutting edge monograph specializes in a latest kind of computer-based literature known as 'literary hypertext', a electronic, interactive, communicative type of new media writing. Canonizing Hypertext combines theoretical and hermeneutic investigations with empirical examine into the motivational and pedagogic probabilities of this manner of literature. It specializes in key questions for literary students and academics: How can literature learn in this type of approach as to make it suitable for an more and more hypermedia-oriented readership? How can the quickly evolving new media be built-in into curricula that also search to transmit 'traditional' literary competence? How can the proposal of literary competence be broadened take into consideration those present developments? This learn, which argues for hypertext's integration within the literary canon, deals a severe evaluation of advancements in hypertext thought, an exemplary hypertext canon and an assessment of attainable lecture room functions.

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Glazier further lists searchability, transmissibility,33 virtual non-existence of physical size (as opposed to the spatial extensions of print media), anti-textuality (which implies the inherent possibility of error messages and other frequently encountered impediments to reading) and proneness to manipulation as distinctive features of web-based textuality. Importantly, Glazier mentions the narrative versatility of the link, which, per se, forms only potentially a part of the narrative: 'Once a link has been taken, it is no longer a link but a constituted part of the already traveled narrative; the link loses its potentiality, but in doing so, it opens up the possibility of other links' (35).

Simanowski's concept of performance, or 'Inszenierung' ('enactment') as he calls it in a later paper (2001a), denotes the performativity of hypertext reception, which is inextricably bound to the moment of reception itself and can therefore only reasonably be explained in terms of an intrinsic approach, coupled with reader-response theory (the latter is neglected by Simanowski). Navigation requires the reader to interact physically with the text, thus shaping its very structure and subverting traditional authorial intentionality, as well as conventional structural components like climax, epiphany and resolution.

2004: 27/29). Second-generation hypermedia in particular add to these a distinct sense of kinetic, pictorial processurality, as it incorporatesfilmicand animated elements of script, image and photographic material. Finally, medial self-reference, or medial reflexivity (as I am more inclined to name it), is another defining characteristic of hypertext. On the one hand, the concept is grounded in the computer's subsumption of text production, storage, editing, publication and reception into one medium.

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