Electronic Literature, Chapter 3: Hypertext Fiction

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This research collection includes references from the third chapter of Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg (Polity, 2018), on Hypertext Fiction. Hypertext fiction was the first form of electronic literature to garner sustained critical interest during the late 1980s and early 1990s. A small but dedicated group of writers began to work seriously in the genre at the same time as the personal computer and then the Internet were becoming widely adopted, writing stories designed as interlinked fragments of text, with multiple possible reading sequences to be navigated through the reader’s selection of links between them. At the same time, postmodernism was reaching the peak of its literary and theoretical interest. Hypertext fiction represented a bridge between the literary experimentation of the late twentieth century and the cultural shifts accompanying the move to networked computing. Although other practices of digital writing preceded literary hypertext, without the small critical industry that developed around hypertext fiction during this period, electronic literature would likely not have been established as a field of academic research and practice in the way that it is today. While we cannot understate the importance of hypertext for the development and growth of the electronic literature community, there is less recent activity in this genre than in some of others discussed in this book, though in some ways the core ideas and basic techniques of hypertext have migrated into genres such as installations, interactive 3D works in CAVEs, and apps for mobile devices. This chapter considers how hypertext emerged within a particular literary, historical, and technological context, and how it served to facilitate the foundation of a critical and creative community of practice.

People:

Name Residency
George P. Landow
United States
US
Espen Aarseth
Copenhagen
Denmark
DK
Ezra Pound
Italy
IT
James Joyce
Ireland
IE
Roland Barthes
France
FR
Michel Foucault
France
FR
Thomas Stearns Eliot
United Kingdom
GB
Virginia Woolf
United Kingdom
GB
Laurence Sterne
United Kingdom
GB
Jorge Luis Borges
Argentina
AR
Stuart Moulthrop
Glendale
United States
US
Julio Cortazar
Paris
France
FR
Marc Saporta
France
FR
Robert Coover
Providence , RI
United States
Rhode Island US
Jeanette Winterson
London
United Kingdom
GB
Kathy Acker
United States
US
David Foster Wallace
United States
US
Scott Rettberg
Bergen
Norway
NO
Judd Morrissey
Chicago
United States
US
Shelley Jackson
Brooklyn , NY
United States
New York US
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Critical Writing:

Title Author Yearsort descending
Make It New: Essays Ezra Pound 1934
As We May Think Vannevar Bush 1945
Complex Information Processing: A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate Theodor Holm Nelson 1965
The Death of the Author / Mort de l'auteur Roland Barthes 1968
Computer Lib: You can and must understand computers now / Dream Machines: New freedoms through computer screens—a minority report Theodor Holm Nelson 1974
Information Management: A Proposal Tim Berners-Lee 1989
Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology George P. Landow 1992
Of Two Minds: Hypertext Pedagogy and Poetics Michael Joyce 1995
Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature Espen Aarseth 1997
Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology George P. Landow 1997
What is an author? / Qu'est-ce qu'un auteur? Michel Foucault 1998
Piecing Together and Tearing Apart: Finding the Story in afternoon Jill Walker Rettberg 1999
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics N. Katherine Hayles 1999
Digital Literature: From Text to Hypertext and Beyond Raine Koskimaa 2000
The End of Books--Or Books Without End: Reading Interactive Narratives J. Yellowlees Douglas 2000
Remediation: Understanding New Media Jay David Bolter, Richard Grusin 2001
Wreader's Digest - How To Appreciate Hyperfiction Anja Rau 2001
The Pleasure (and Pain) of Link Poetics Scott Rettberg 2002
The New Media Reader 2003
Understanding Robert Coover Brian Evenson 2003
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