In this week’s readings Douglas discusses literature and the seemingly inevitable end of books ie. physical writing. With the introduction of hypertext comes a new concept of narratives – stories without endings.
Douglas refers to;
“Barthes’s famous “Death of the Author” that declares the reader is the single device that ultimately controls the signifying potential of any text.”
This is relevant in terms of blogging and creating online networks as it displays the importance of readership and the ways which an author/publisher of online content caters to and connects with it’s audience.
In this day and age, the ‘death of the author’ means that, particularly with online content (blogs), it doesn’t matter who is writing what – the author is irrelevant. It’s a form of transcendence in a way as the author has become somewhat anonymous – let’s say an ‘everyman’. Anyone can contribute to discussion online and anyone can become an ‘expert’ or author so is being an author relevant? Therefore, has traditional literature died?
“Writers in hypertext can open up apertures into conflicting and even mutually exclusive perspectives.”
Hypertext, or online/networked writing, allows everyone to give their own point of view. Search engine algorithms mean that the most conflicting of opinions can be within a click away. Our work that we publish online opens up dialogues with people from all over the world and the extremely public nature of blogs and the Internet in general means that our idea are there, out in the open inviting argument, discussion and challenge.
Who knows what the future will hold, however the death of books has already slowly but surely begun. Take for example, the rise and rise of eBooks as highlighted in this video below.
Douglas, J. The End of Books — Or Books Without End?: Reading Interactive Narratives. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.