Forming the Text, Performing the Work - Aspects of Media, Navigation, and Linking

Anna Gunder


This article proposes a theoretical framework intended to facilitate descriptions and discussions of texts of works in different media. The main theoretical traditions which have inspired this endeavor are, on the one hand, textual criticism (with scholars such as Fredson Bowers, D. C. Greetham, Jerome J. McGann, D. F. McKenzie, Peter L. Shillingsburg, and G. Thomas Tanselle), and, on the other hand, hypertext theory (represented by theorists like Espen Aarseth, Jay David Bolter, Jane Yellowlees Douglas, Michael Joyce, George P. Landow, and Janet H. Murray). The study aims to combine and develop the perspectives of such theoretical traditions in order to suggest a more consistent and extensive set of concepts for the analysis of how narratives are stored and disseminated. The study examines the structural aspects of texts and works, and deals with storage, presentation and reproduction of works. Moreover, the structure of works and texts, as well as the navigation related to these structures, are discussed. The study also includes an in-depth discussion on links and linking, and a new terminology is suggested for the subject. The most important concepts discussed are work, text, version, variant, storage medium, storage sign, presentation medium, presentation sign, storage capacity, life expectancy, direct text access, indirect text access, copy, edition, impression, issue, monosequential, multisequential, content space and axial structure. Furthermore, the concepts of network structure and lateral structure as well as hypertext, ergodicity, link and linking are examined.

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