Electronic Text: Investigations in Method and Theory

Synopsis

Since the 1950s, when Roland Barthes re-expressed the formalist ideal of an open-ended text, there has been much interest among literary critics and theorists of text in the question of what text is and what it gives us access to. The computer storage and electronic dissemination of texts adds a new controversy to the debate: what is the significance of the electronic text for the representation and transmission of knowledge? In its functions as multi-text storer and in its capacity to weave, unweave, and reweave text, the computer lends itself to a variety of later twentieth-century theoretic and cultural practices, from the decomposing strategies of deconstructive criticism to the date-dense contextualism of criticisms of postmodernism, coming from new historicism, cultural anthropology, and post-Marxism. The contributors to this book examine the impact of electronic technology on literary and textual studies. They ask how the computer is being used to reshape ideas of text, of authorship, of a literary canon, of authenticity and value as embodied in the edited work. They combine approaches from literary theory, the philosophy of text, feminist theory, and textual criticism. Topics include interactive Shakespeare, the poetry of Laetitia Landon, Mark Twain and hypertext, and the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.