The Experience of Hypertext Storytelling

I noticed in “The Jew’s Daughter” that I would accidentally miss large portions of text as I idly moved my cursor to and fro while reading. At other points, I’d read the same page of text twice in order to pinpoint the next word to advance the story. This text required an explicit attention to its construction in order to complete it. Looking at the text on “Ergodic literature” gives a good theoretical reading of these techniques I just explained idomatically. Within the context of “The Jew’s Daughter” and “Twelve Blue,” the reader is trapped into a type of “game-world or world-game” with the text. “The Jew’s Daughter” asks for a close, classical reading of a text as if it were a novel, yet makes it a challenge to do so. Large portions disappear instantaneously and awkward juxtapositions are made as old and new text are conflated with the forward progression of the narrative.

In “Twelve Blue,” the reader is given small chunks of a whole with no regard to spatiotemporal order. At one point, I was reading the same page again and again, but as I followed a link to it, more borders would appear, pushing the text into an awkward format. The challenge with this text isn’t in the writing style or the reliability of the narration, but rather in the navigation of the text itself. upon first reading, it is easy to pick up on motifs and settings and certain characters, but the text toys with the reader, challenging their ability to navigate the text and have it congeal into a singular story with which the reader has an intimate closeness.

From my point-of-view as a conditioned reader, these texts provided valuable insights into how I expect literature to unfold. It also offered a stark, fever-dream experience in the way it subverted conventional structure. I felt awash in a fractured mind, grasping at bits that could allow me to devise some sort of map for reading.

-W.O.

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~ by wro1 on February 18, 2013.

 
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