2 Answers

  1. The word hypertext refers to a special organization of the text, in which the transition is possible not only from thesis to thesis, in the order of their deployment (reading in a row), but also bypassing intermediate theses, through hyperlinks (reading by links). Hypertext is based on the set model: the text is represented as an area of intersection of different sets that need to be expanded, expanded, and extracted meaning from each, for which clicking on links is more reliable than just reading in a row. At the same time, hypertext does not have privileged sets, unlike plain text, for which the privileged set is a table of contents, a summary, a synopsis, or a summary of the content in formulas and tables. Hypertext is largely created by Christian culture: the need to quote various passages of the Bible in support of abstract theses required replacing the scroll with a codex (a book that can simultaneously be placed on different pages) and finding “parallel places” in the Bible: for example, correspondences between the prophecies of the Old Testament and the events of the New Testament. In the traditional book culture, hypertext was created by links in the margins or by a complex multi-level pointer device to the book. Modern information technologies allow marking up the text and providing a transition with a simple query (by clicking on the selected hyperlink). We find signs of hypertext in many works of modern literature that are built on the principle of a branching “tree”, rather than a linear presentation from beginning to end.

  2. It should be added to the answer of Alexander Markov that not only the tree structure of the text is practiced in the literature. One of the main features of modern hypertext is not the ability to “jump” or “expand”, but the fundamental absence of the Beginning of the text and its end. The most illustrative example of such a text is Wikipedia, where, in theory, you can go endlessly from text to text and from meaning to meaning. In fact, this is an endless text that is built anew each time, depending on the reader and user. One of the philosophical problems raised, therefore, is ” The interrelation of all phenomena of nature, man, his fantasies/constructions (texts about everything)”. In fiction, such hypertext (without beginning or end) was tried by Milorad Pavic with his “Khazar Dictionary”.

    However, there is also a fundamentally different interpretation of the concept of hypertext (not in technical terms, but in literary terms). It belongs to and is embodied in the artistic works of Umberto Eco: hypertext as a multi-level text. What is meant here is not the classical search for the four levels of meaning of the [sacred] text (literal, moral, allegorical, anagogic), but in general the statements that a text composed in a certain way will have many “levels” and “links” that only a trained reader can recognize. And with this technique, the author can try to express his thoughts even more clearly, giving his reader a kind of hide-and-seek game.

    Moving away from Eco, scholastics and absolutizing their observations, we can say that any text is hypertext, since it refers to the experience of the author and, most importantly, his reader (both vital and cultural). The moment when the text becomes “hyper” is, for example, when you exclaim “I already saw it there/so-and-so”.

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