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Annonated Bibliography 1:

Landow, George P.  “Hypertext: An Introduction.”  Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology.  Baltimore: The John Hopkins UP, 1997.  (chapter 1)

 

Summary

            Landow gives an overview of the evolution of hypertext in this chapter.  He calls this transformation from printed text to electronic writing a paradigm shift.  Crediting it to the ideas of Jacques Derrida, Theodor Nelson, Roland Barthes and Andries van Dam, Landow gave brief descriptions of their contributions to the idea of hypertextuality.  These theorists penned the initial concepts of electronic writing, which eventually led to the creation of what is known as “hypertext” today.

Next, Landow gave credit to Vannevar Bush, whose vision of the Memex pioneered this evolution.  Though significantly different from hypertexts today, Bush’s idea got many to think about the way texts should be written, that is, according to the way a person’s mind work.

Following this, Landow illustrated the various forms of links, pointing out their uses and limitations.  This part is more technical but gave potential writers an idea of how links should be created.

He closed the chapter with explanations of how electronic texts will eventually replace printed texts, but forewarns that it will take a long time, just like the evolution of printed texts.

 

Review

This is the main article which I based my arguments on essay 2 from.  Basically Landow gives a brief but useful account of how the idea of “hypertext” came about.  In his text, he mentioned the idea penned by Barthes which he called “writerly" text.

From Bush’s Memex,  to the theories of other writers such as Nelson, Derrida and van Dam, Landow attempted to give us a better understanding of the workings of this so called “ideal” text system.

Barthes attempted to change conventional printed texts which are basically linear and sequential, to an electronic text based on multi-linear and non-sequential writing.  His idea came about as the reader being a producer of the text rather than as a passive consumer, commonly in conventional texts.  Readers are given many pathways to choose from so they directly decide how the story should continue.  This is reinforced with non-textual links, such as audio, visual, animation, and so on.

Instead of going into Barthes' theory directly, I chose this one by Landow because it presented Barthes’ idea yet substantiate it with those of the other theorists, so as to give us a better understanding of the meaning of "writerly" text, as contrasted to the conventional printed texts, which he termed "readerly" text.

 

 

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