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:

Namesort ascending Residency
William Gillespie
IL
United States
Illinois US
Virginia Woolf
United Kingdom
GB
Thomas Stearns Eliot
United Kingdom
GB
Stuart Moulthrop
Glendale
United States
US
Shelley Jackson
Brooklyn , NY
United States
New York US
Scott Rettberg
Bergen
Norway
NO
Roland Barthes
France
FR
Robert Coover
Providence , RI
United States
Rhode Island US
Michel Foucault
France
FR
Mark Z. Danielewski
Marc Saporta
France
FR
Laurence Sterne
United Kingdom
GB
Kurt Vonnegut
United States
US
Kathy Acker
United States
US
Julio Cortazar
Paris
France
FR
Judd Morrissey
Chicago
United States
US
Jorge Luis Borges
Argentina
AR
Jeanette Winterson
London
United Kingdom
GB
James Joyce
Ireland
IE
George P. Landow
United States
US
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Scott Rettberg