The space between : how hypertext affects the author/reader divide

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Authors and readers have been in conflict since the invention of writing, battling over the right to interpret a written document. This has artificially created a split between these two institutions, a split typically divided between those who have the power and money to publish their words to a mass audience and those whose words have been repressed by that publishing system. This thesis examines, through the lens of deconstruction and other post-structuralist theories, how hypertext and other digital technologies have empowered reader to take back some of the functions historically granted to authors. Through blogs, interactive Web sites, and electronic literatures, readers can assume a larger role in the creative process. However, with more power comes more danger for manipulation, as authors have also become more canny with the rise of electronic text. Though readers have more freedom, they must also face an increased potential for mediation and manipulation outside of their control. This thesis determines that although the gap between authors and readers is narrowing, many of the old conflicts are too ingrained to ever be settled.




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