Hypertextual Forms and Functioning of Their Units in Russian Literature of the 10s of XXth century – 10s of the XXIst century

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Abstract (in English): 

The theoretical background of the paper lies in postmodernist writings of Jacques Lacan, Jean-Luc Lyotard, Giles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes as well as in hypertextual studies carried out in the 1990's and 2000's by Jay David Bolter, Stuart Moulthrop, George Landow, Espen Aarseth, and Janet Murray. Four basic approaches to the hypertextal studies are surveyed: poststructuralist, describing but not naming the subject (R.Barthes, J.Derrida, J.Deleuze); utopian, dating back to the 1990 and claiming that hyperfiction could replace all the linear and paper communication (J.Bolter, M.Bernstein); narratological, tracing the nature of hyperfiction in the history of literature and narration (J.Murray), and ludological (E. Aarseth) speculating on hypertext’s correlation with game. Building on all of those, the paper suggests syntagmatic approach. The research is aimed to build a meaningful opposition between non-hierarchial hypertextual language and the paradigm of the natural language. The hypertext is defined as a text consisting of combinatorial permutable units that require an active reader. Thus the paper is an attempt to write a grammar of the hypertextural language, in oppostition to E.Aarseth’s morphology, allowing for new more democratic wreading (writing and reading) strategy.

By using the term syntagmatic we hope to point to the significant refusal of synchronic understanding of the term, not signifying the hypertextual utopianism, but allowing to follow the functioning of hypertextual forms throughout the 20th century. Due to this fact not only prose, but also poetic forms appear in the focus of the hypertext study. This has not yet been made in the world hypertext studies, although Landaw claims that there can be traced a similiarity between the textual production and consumption of avant-garde, surrealist, and OULIPO works and computer hyperfiction.

Paper explores the functioning of the minimal units (lexia) of reading (or wreading) in the hypertextual forms. This segregation of the pra-elements of the text is similar to the syntagmatic structure of the language itself, and is at the same time an attempt to construct a global project of universal hypertextual language structures. If the hypertext is a non-linear, non-hierarchical type of ordering of verbal as well as non-verbal information, a new synthetic language, it means that one should start to learn it at the level of its minimal unit – the letter. Then consequently we define the word and the fragment, as other possible units of the hypertextual whole.

Examining the correlation of the minimal units of hypertextual forms we touch on the dynamic of the visual and verbal expressive means of Russian cubo-futurist book comparing with the static, fettering the initiative of the recipient of multimedia flash-poetry of 2000s (E.Katsuba, A.Alchuk and others.); ideogrammatic sameness of sign and image (E.Mnatsakanova, Ry Nikonova, S.Sigey and others); visual and verbal in non-linear, spatially structured visual poetry, collage and catalogue as the variation of verbal readymades in conceptual and post-conceptual poetry (L.Rubinshtein, A.Skidan), and collage as a type of aleatoric combination of fragments in V.Erl’s works. In the dictionary type hypertexts we analyze the dialogical role of associational commentary (V.Nabokov Pale Fire, R.Leibov ROMAN, D.Galkovsky Endless tupik) and the role of active reader (wreader) as a textual production mechanism in the interactive textuality.

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Natalia Fedorova