Andres Luco, English 111, 1999
This is a Hypertext document. Make way for a new form of textuality -- one dominated by the reader and not the writer, for the distinction between the two dissolves in this digital space. This story empowers the reader to create the text in however way she may choose. What do you see here besides a constellation of lexias, subject to your unfettered negotiation? A textual (r)evolution has begun. Roland Barthes' dream of the "writerly" text is realized in Hypertext, where "the networks are many and interact, without any one of them being able to surpass the rest; this text is a galaxy of signifiers. . . we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared as the main one (S/Z 5)."
Stop. Is this really so true here? Do you really believe this? The pathways existing here are multiple, no doubt. Certainly this would allow for a multiplicity of readings. Wouldn't the reader then be raised to a position of preeminence? After all, according to Barthes, the goal of the writerly text is to "make the readerŠa producer of the text (S/Z 4)." But who makes the pathways? Who creates the nodes? The links? I do. That is, the author does. I have even been so audacious as to organize several neatly prearranged paths in this overview for the sake of intelligibility. On the other hand, you might accuse me of trying to recover influence over the reading of my text.
In any case, ask yourself these questions: How does the semic "galaxy" of the writerly text come to being? Or can it at all? Is this what Barthes was really driving at? How has the experience of reading changed with this new medium? All perplexing questions. All critical ones, at that. Read on, Hypertext pioneers.