Symposium Panel – Hypertext Narrative

 In this week’s symposium, I found myself on the panel with Meg and Elliot – engaging in dialog about the subject matter, Hypertext Narrative.


The key academic texts that the symposium members discussed consisted of:

Extracts from ‘Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization’ by George Landow as well as Douglas Yellowlees’ ‘The End of Books — Or Books Without End?’


Although I didn’t have the chance to document the symposium discussion (as I was occupied conversing about Hypertext Narrative), I made some potential discussion points about the readings before the panel took place – many of which I brought up throughout the symposium.

Discussion points from Landow’s text

  • Not all narratives appear in hypertext form.
  • Paper explored many types of form hypertext has taken.
  • High modernism – uses linking to grant the author more authority.
  • Notes that some online fiction consists of hypertext that is derived from the author’s own reading.
  • No hypertext systems are superior to others.
  • Investigation as to how hypertext may affect literacy form.
  • “Hypertext can reveal new organisations or functions of itself to a reader”.
  • Suggests that hypertext has roots in Canonical texts (texts of belief).
  • Argues that hypertext creates great questions about narrative and plot by ridding linear organizations.
  • Readers now serve a dual purpose as readers and authors.

“Linearity, however, now becomes a quality of the individual reader’s experience within a single lexis and his or her experience following a path, even if that path curves back on itself or heads in strange directions” (221).

“The writer can write in such a way to allow a reader to make informed choices” (225).

Speaks of the closure of indefinite, infinitive hyperlink narratives. However, he suggests that traditional writing and reading methods aren’t closed and allow for the reader to grasp multiple endings or modes of closure – often dependent on what the reader takes in from the narrative’s finally.


Discussion Points From Yellowlees’ text

  • Speaks of the CD-ROM adventure conceit of the Titanic and the interactive narrative.
  • Provides implications of hypertext within the Titanic software with the ability for the viewer to participate and choose their own path, explore and par take in the narrative and its conclusion.
  • Considers a more personable approach to interactive narratives stating that “The book that responds every time you read it – responding to your moods, your whim, your latest fetish…”
  • Also considers the closure to a story.
  • Tells that hypertext is still at its “icebox stage”.
  • States that some novels are best suited to their traditional book form.
  • Speaks of the role of the reader – how the author can never determine what the reader will take from a story.
  • Some narrative qualities remain the same throughout hypertext narrative e.g. characters.                                                                                                               “Alike fiction, hypertext stories can enthrall, amuse, frustrate, repel and even frighten their readers”