Chapter

Lighting out for the Territory: Hypertext, Ideology, and <i>Huckleberry Finn</i>

Patrick W. Conner

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/9780198236634.003.0004
Lighting out for the Territory: Hypertext, Ideology, and Huckleberry Finn

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This chapter argues that any critical use of the term ‘hypertext’ must take into account how the object so termed may be modelled in the cybernetic context because at least in the case of hypertext, the connection between literary criticism and technology is mutually supportive of both domains, and each serves the ideologies of the other. To support this claim, the chapter examines certain conjunctions of ideology and structure in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Samuel Clemens did not have access to the term ‘hypertext’, yet he endowed a certain open structure within Huckleberry Finn with an ideology which reflects the fundamental assumptions of a recognisable American myth; this myth, which focuses on the relative positions of the individual and society, and an ambiguous attitude towards boundaries and difference, is relevant to the underlying assumptions of those critics and software designers who are currently championing cybernetic hypertext.

Keywords: hypertext; cybernetic context; literary criticism; technology; ideology; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; individual; society

Chapter.  18620 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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