Ph.D thesis on "Conversational Analysis of Chatroom 'talk'"
Masters thesis: Influence of the World Wide Web on literature
What the World Wide Web does for poetry is to make reading an experience. Reading becomes a performance taking in both creator and witness. There are millions of examples of how present and past poets present their poetry on the Internet, some are more dramatic than others. One search engine stated, 'About 607760 documents match your query,' under the keyword 'poetry', showing how many people are willing to share their verses for free with the world. And each author hoping to be discovered and loved and understood by the tens of millions of Internet viewers we are constantly told are wandering the web.
In the Preface to the
Lyrical Ballads, William Wordsworth wrote,
'My purpose was to imitate, and, far as is possible, to adopt the very language of men...'
The Internet as a transformation of literature as we know it has the good and difficult sides to it. On the plus side is that anyone can put their writing on at anytime. On the difficult side is the massive amounts of narrative which appear on the World Wide Web. There is also the difficulty with knowing who the actual creator of the web site we are witnessing is. As an author creating text there are dangers to contend with. With a computer it is so easy to lift chunks out of texts and copy them. It becomes an almost impossibility to know whether someone will take sections of your writing and use it with their own document, and if they do what can be done? There is also the issue of money. I doubt that anyone will pay to go to someone s sites and read their poems, stories, articles, thesis or even novel. Being published on the internet is a long ways from being published by a book publisher. There is just too much stuff on the Internet for anyone to care about what an individual has to say to pay to read them unless they are already known.
With printed literature the reader was able to identify with the text. This identification had a morbid affect on many readers of Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, who either committed suicide or attempted it. Every romantic young man felt that he was Werther. (Koestler p. 345) As people have associated and projected themselves into the narratives contained within books what becomes of the association with characters within web pages on the World Wide Web?
Point of view selects and shapes the meanings of texts. It is not so much a single concept as a cluster of concepts, covering several aspects of the relationship between narrator, story and reader: the style and structure of the telling, the perspective from which things are seen, and the assumptions and values that pervade the text. (Reid p.12) Hypertext's greatest value is in its reshaping of the textual landscape of the narrative as it has been presented in the past.
The danger of writing hypertext literature is to have too many links so that everything breaks down into incoherency. It would be like having Susan Howe write a novel instead of just one of her poems. Howe explains her work:
First I would type some lines. Then cut them apart. Paste one on top of another, move them around until they looked right. Then I'd xerrox that version, getting several copies, and then cut and paste again until I had it right... (Keller, p.5)
This is close to what many people do with their World Wide Web pages, they combine so much on to one page that it all becomes as incoherent as a Susan Howe poem. If her poems are impossible to make sense of what would a hypertext novel from her be like? There have been attempts to have a poem with every word linked to another site, what happens in these situations is that the reader becomes lost and may never find the way back to the origin of the poem. A poem of this sort is at http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~benedett/lit/mercury. html. Produced below to give a feeling of a poem with many links. The poem on the left shows the poem without the links and on the right with the links.
This is probably not the best way to go although I don't know what I might have done differently unless I had been a different person might have had more backbone to stand up to him but now I'm almost there and what's that noise no it better not be oh god it is and well I guess I can come back later when the crowd is gone the cops will stop them I just better not let them see me till later I'll just get out here god I need some fresh air leave this in the car there's a mall I wonder what oh no the keys too and there's a phone please no trouble no I can't get into my car no not there no just don't no please no o No.
This is probably not the best way to go
although I don't know what I might have done
differently unless I had been a different
person might have had more backbone to
stand up to him but now I'm almost there and what's that noise no it better not be oh god it is and well I guess I can come back later when the crowd is gone the cops will stop them I just better not let them see me till later I'll just get out here god I need some fresh air leave this in the car there's a mall I wonder what oh no the keys too and there's a phone please no trouble no I can't get into my car no not there no just don't no please no o