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  Hypertext (writ 210) temp site


Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 6        

Translating Your Writing to Hypertext  

NOTE - no presentations for this week - but the Exercise forms your mid term assessment due in class Mon 22nd April (Week 7)

Exercise for Week 6
NOW Mid Term Assessment 

‘Translate’ a piece of your writing (an already existing piece) into hypertext on paper. i.e with arrows, diagrams, and explanations of how the piece will work hypertextually. (2000 words)
One example - (not recommended you follow ) is from Storyspace Program).

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the hypertext medium?  Demonstrate some knowledge of the theories we have been discussing in the last few weeks.

Week 6 

‘Document conversion’ writing and revising a text, (literary or academic) then translating into hypertext. Basic hypertext operations. ‘Chunking’.

‘In hypertext, ‘the text’ (book) is a non-linear, connected document, each of the information blocks is called a lexia, a term developed by Barthes to describe linked blocks of text.’ [i]

Bear in mind, one can get caught up in the excitement of linking – the important thing is the writing. The question we will be asking ourselves in the following weeks is, can we write well using hypertext? I think that hypertext literary writing naturally comes under the aegis of poetry rather than fiction (or poetry with a strong narrative drive), but then I am a poet. Do you agree? 

LEXIA and poetry
Though we are discussing all genres in this course, poetry offers the most detailed analysis of how text is broken up.
'So often, when reading 'free' verse, I can see no reason why a line ends where it does; why the poet did not write it out as a prose-poem.' W.H. Auden, 'On Technique', Agenda V10:4, 1972.

'Above all, the prose poem is a heterogeneous form - not as a simple compromise between poetry and prose, but as a form that almost inevitably brings diverse genres of prose into tension with one another.' M.S. Murphy, A Tradition of Subversion, U of Massachusetts. P, 1992, p90.

‘[T]he lines allow for the visual interruption of the phrase (or sentence) without necessarily requiring a temporal interruption, a pause. ... I can ... set in motion a counter-measure that adds to the rhythmic richess of the poem" – Charles Bernstein, ‘An Interview’.

'What line breaks add to prose prosody is a connection between eye and ear which emphasizes the nature of the language by ... creating units of intent and emphasis, and by contouring the meloding pitch changes in the narrative-line.' Diane Wakoski, "Eye & Ear: A Manifesto" in The Ohio Review, V:38, 1987, p17.

Note: the term ‘Native hypertext’ is hypertext that is written expressly as hypertext using appropriate software or HTML coding, as opposed to text written originally for a traditional print medium and then adapted to hypertext

Importance of Writing Hypertext

‘The issues at hand are not technological but aesthetic, not what and where we shall read but how and why. These are issues which have been a matter of the deepest artistic inquiry for some time, and which share a wide and eclectic band of progenitors and a century or more of self-similar texts in a number of media.’  Michael Joyce, ‘The Ends of Print Culture'

Two primary spaces on which hypertext has a significant impact—

  • pedagogy (teaching/learning);
  • poetics (writing).

David Bolter believes that nearly all writing will become a computer mediated activity; the computer will take its place after the papyrus scroll, the mediaeval codex and the printed book. (Writing Space, p37).

Speed and concision are driving this new mode of writing not style, nuance, or complexity. We negotiate the technical limitations by adapting and evolving our writing. Chat rooms: a casual and simplified writing style, dense with abbreviations and acronyms to maintain conversation as quick and lifelike as possible.

The latest flash plug-ins and neatest HTML hacks get the attention, all too often the text is ignored.

The flexibility of online publishing means there is never really a final draft. Readers tend to be extremely impatient, not used to reading from a computer screen. Much of the writing on commercial sites is so reduced and streamlined that it barely has a chance to make a point in an interesting manner or thoroughly explore a topic — there's just not enough time

Writing should never be compromised. Text is the central way of communicating with other people on the Web, and it deserves closer attention than it's been getting. Hypertext makes writers more aware of their audience, encourages them to take more chances, forces them to think more about sequencing, and raises their consciousness about boundaries between the writer and the reader.

Hypertext makes writers more aware of their audience, encourages them to take more chances, forces them to think more about sequencing, and raises their consciousness about boundaries between the writer and the reader?



Links to Editing on Line
See Bruce Graver and Ronald Tetreault, "Editing Lyrical Ballads for the Electronic Environment." Romanticism On the Net 9 (February 1998) May, 12, 1998.

For a discussion of a new paradigm of textual editing, see McGann's "The Rationale of HyperText."


[i] Landow, George, Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology, Johns Hopkins UP, 1992, p4.