i n t r o d u c t i o n


Welcome to my hypertext: "Metaphor: From Plato to the Postmodernists." This project explores the role of metaphor in Plato's texts, postmodernist works, culture, and technology. I have braided together citations from Plato, Derrida, Barthes, Bakhtin, and Lakoff & Johnson, while maintaining a 'journey' metaphor throughout.

Here are just some of the topics my hypertext covers:

The Writing

I originally created this hypertext in Storyspace, an electronic writing tool that has as the unit of content the "lexia", or chunk of text. This is in contrast to the World Wide Web, where the fundamental unit of writing is the page. As I created the project, I wrote in small Storyspace lexias. Once I transported these lexias into HTML pages, they seemed too small to fill the big shoes of the page metaphor: I loaded the pages in Netscape, and saw a tiny area of text on the top of each page, with the rest of the window empty. To correct this, I enlarged the font, and narrowed each lexia by circumscribing it with the highway images.

The template for the pages.

How to Navigate

Unlike most other web sites, the links you have already followed in "Metaphor" do not turn a different color than the links you have yet to follow. This might be a trifle trying for the hurried reader who does not want to revisit pages. However, I wanted to emphasize the circularity of the hypertext, and encourage the reader to build multiple bridges between the lexias.

As a navigational aid, I have created an Overview of Topics. From this page, you can pick a topic that interests you, say "Derrida" or "Technology" or "Reading and Writing." When you click on a topic, you are presented with a list of lexias related to that topic. Click on any of these to jump into the web. I created the Overview of Topics with the realization that this is a multidisciplinary project, and, as such, appeals to a wide variety of readers with varying interests and motivations. The Overview is especially useful for readers who wants to sink their teeth into one particular aspect of the project right away.

HTML versus Storyspace Version:

In the Storyspace version, I emphasized the multivocality of this hypertext more, by associating each theorist's quotes with a unique font. Unfortunately, the present state of HTML is such that I have much less freedom with fonts with this WWW version.

One of the advantages of Storyspace is the ability to make several links from one source. So, when you click on a chunk of text that has multiple links emanating from it, you are presented with a dialog box of options for the different links. In HTML, however, you can only associate a given chunk of text with one outgoing link. This disparity only affects the starting point of my hypertext (if in fact a hypertext can have a starting point). The "start" lexia of my Storyspace version has branching links. To preserve this freedom for my reader in the HTML version, I simply created lists of links to choose from.

The Start page

On the up side, the HTML format of this version is the more colorful and visually appealing rendition of the project. I used the graphical capabilities of HTML to develop an overall "journey" metaphor for the hypertext: The gray background represents the gravel of a road; the stripes on either side of the text simulate, of course, a highway; and the navigational links to the Cyberspace and Hypertext overviews and the "Metaphor" homepage are meant to look like road signs.

The template for the pages.

Erica Jean Seidel