Textual Practitioners: A comparison of hypertext theory and phenomenology of reading

Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 5 (2):163-180 (2006)
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The article is an exploration of online reading from the perspective of theories of reading and interpretation based on literary theory and the phenomenology of reading literary text. One of its aims is to show that such theories can make a contribution to our understanding of reading and to our design of online reading spaces. The precursor of this stance is the form of hypertext theory originally proposed by George Landow, which predicted radical changes in reading practices with an impact not only on literature but on education in general. The prediction has been slow to be verified and has been criticized by empirical and psychological studies. In this article, hypertext theory is compared to the phenomenology of reading linear literary text, with particular attention paid to the role played by the notion of a text, work or ‘whole’ which is constructed or produced during the course of reading. I show that the active and engaged reading predicted by hypertext theory is available in reading linear literary text, and to a higher degree than in reading hypertext, and consider ways in which the kinds of reading process which occur in reading literature can be generalized to reading for other higher education purposes. Finally, I speculate as to the range of online technologies that could be used to encourage these reading processes, and propose an alternative online reading space



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Annamaria Carusi
University of Copenhagen

Citations of this work

Comparing Lecturer and Student Accounts of Reading in the Humanities.Saranne Weller - 2010 - Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 9 (1):87-106.

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