Chapter

The Rationale of Hypertext

Jerome J. McGann

in Electronic Text

Published in print December 1997 | ISBN: 9780198236634
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679315 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198236634.003.0002
The Rationale of Hypertext

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This chapter focuses primarily on a particular feature of literary works — their physical character, whether audial or visible. It points out why these feature are important in a literary point of view and also sketches certain practical means for elucidating these textual features. At this point, most scholars know about the increased speed and analytic power that computerisation gives, and about the ‘information highway’ and its scholarly possibilities. Major changes in the forms of knowledge and information are taking place. From a literary person's point of view, however, the relevance of these changes can appear to be purely marginal: for whatever happens in the future, the literature one inherits is and will always be bookish. Scholars have invented an array of ingenious tools: facsimile editions, critical editions, and contextual materials for clarifying a work's meaning. So far as editing and textual studies are concerned, codex tools present serious difficulties. The chapter further discusses hyperediting, hypertext, and hypermedia.

Keywords: computerisation; information highway; contextual materials; codex tools; hyperediting; hypertext; hypermedia

Chapter.  10327 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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