Reconstructing the deconstructed: hypertext and literary education

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"In this article I endeavour to connect two major achievements of postmodernism which, at first glance, may appear incompatible: deconstruction in literature and literary criticism on the one hand and constructivism in educational theory and practice on the other. Subverting traditional literary values such as authorial integrity and power, linearity and logic of plot, consistency of character, the distance between the reader and printed text as well as, above all, the death of the author, poststructuralism has long been recognized as a rather embattled concept. This is due to its evasiveness and hence relative inapplicability to literary criticism and pedagogy. Venturing to overcome this dilemma, the article will investigate the implications of educational constructivism. The chief aim is to link some of its concepts with postmodern literature in such a way as to facilitate didactic methodology in the field of poststructuralist literature. Literary hypertext- the so-called incarnation of postmodern literary theory - will be used as a stereotypical example of poststructuralist evasiveness. The article proposes that literary hypertext has considerable educational potential. Not only does the genre invite subjectcentred pedagogy, which allows students to learn according to their own interests and prior knowledge, but, paradoxically, it also defies the unviability of poststructuralist literature by resurrecting the dead author in collectiveness. The proposal will be illustrated by a case study report, describing the implementation of literary hypertext in an undergraduate German creative writing classroom."

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Mathias Vetti O...