Hypertext vs. Hyperwork

Hypertext vs. Hyperwork


In addition to Barthes, Iser also distinguishes between the text and the work in his The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach by stating,

Íthe literary work has two poles, which we might call the artistic, and the aesthetic: the artistic refers to the text created by the author, and the aesthetic to the realization accomplished by the reader. From this polarity it follows that the literary work cannot be completely identical with the text, or with the realization of the text, but in fact must lie halfway between the two. The work is more than the text, for the text only takes on life when it is realized, and furthermore the realization is by no means independent of the individual disposition of the reader ˝ though this in turn is acted upon by the different patterns of the text. The convergence of text and reader brings the literary work into existence, and this convergence can never be precisely pinpointed, but must always remain virtual, as it is not to be identified either with the reality of the text or with the individual disposition of the reader. -- (Iser ,The Reading Process, 212)
Perhaps, a bit too structuralist in his analysis, Iser's distinction between the text and the work is still quite invaluable to the understanding of the reader's involvement with hypertext and crucial to the development of the concept of a hyperwork. In much the same way, a hyperwork encompasses not only the hypertext, but the reader's involvement with the text itself. Granted, this involvement transcends the mere clicking of hot words in a lexia, the hyperwork involves an intimate merging of the text and the reader. This completely imperfect hybridization revolves around the reader's bringing to the field of reading his own previous experiences, plethora of opinions, prejudices and desires. Unlike linear works, the involvement of such reader factors in the development of a hyperwork do not merely play a roll in a text's comprehension; rather, they are what directly influence the choices the hypertextual reader now has the freedom/limitation to make. The hyperwork and, ultimately, the hypertext neither exist nor progress without the direct input of the reader ˝ an interface that involves both the conscious and the unconscious. The hyperwork is what Iser would define as a virtual dimension of the text which allows for "the coming together of text and imagination" (Iser ,The Reading Process, 215). The production of the hyperwork allows for the hypertext to transform into an experience in itself. Such propagations will have the further ramification of directly influencing the reading of future hypertexts and the creation of other hyperworks. Whether the effect of such direct input merely causes a separation of reading into active or passive, remains to be seen and is in fact discussed elsewhere in this hypertext. In any case, Iser's theory of the gap within the text must also be examined in the effort to reconfigure the hypertextual reader.