[Not in print version. © the Johns Hopkins University Press 1995.]
Probably the most exciting development in hypertext since the publication of Hypertext is the World Wide Web, the environment in which you are reading this. The Mosaic and Netscape viewers for html (hypertext markup language) on the World Wide Web have created a gigantic, easily usuable hypertext on top of the Internet. With World Wide Web sites in places as varied as Papua New Guinea, Antarctica, Finland, and Rhode Island, Internet users have begun to weave webs of words and images that span the globe.
WWW embodies many of the most exciting features of the Nelsonian vision of hypertext, particularly the fact that the individual lexias forming webs in e-space can each travel from servers throughout the world and form themselves into a virtual document where ever one reads them. Unfortunately, thus far the Web omits major portions of a true hypertext system, including one-to-many linking, multiple windows, and true read-write ability by wreaders. Nonetheless, like early Hypercard, it provides tantalizing foretastes of true hypertext, and, also like Hypercard, its relative ease of use and apparent low cost -- most users perceive it as free -- have made it an invaluable means of introducing people to the vision of hypertext.
Although an environment in which it is much harder to create rich, truly hypertextual materials than Intermedia, Storyspace, or Microcosm, its ability to reach potentially enormous audiences has led me to translate much of the material described in Hypertext into html. Readers might wish to explore the several thousand essays and images that make up the Victorian Web, which contains materials on a range of Victorian authors translated from earlier Intermedia and Storyspace versions. Thus far these include Charlotte Brontë, Max Beerbohm, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Thomas Carlyle, Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Macdonald, George Meredith, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson, Anthony Trollope, and Oscar Wilde. As time permits, I'll add as-yet unformatted materials on Matthew Arnold, Rudyard Kipling, and others submitted by readers. In addition to essays on these authors created by Brown faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students as well as by faculty from other institutions, the Victorian Web also contains sections on Victorian religion, arts, science, political and social history (public health, race and class, and anti-Irish prejudice are particularly rich) as well as some brief essays on genre, technique, mode and the literary canon.
Since this web serves both as an educational resource and as a means of experimenting with new rhetorics and stylistics of electronic writing, I have also linked it to several books and a half dozen articles, largely on Ruskin and Pre-Raphaelite painting, nineteenth-century sculpture, and Victorian periodicals. [Follow for alist of these WWW versions.]