José Augusto Mourão



Text is dead

The artificial and the natural


Reconfiguring narrative

Hypertextual organisation


Text is dead

Computer generated literature brings along a series of misplacements regarding the literature paradigm we knew. In effect, in this kind of literature:

1. Texts cannot be reread. 2. Texts cannot be memorized. 3. Texts don't have princeps version, nor variants, nor sources, nor manuscripts. 4. Context doesn't make any reference to the world, but to the constraints of coherence which impose laws captured by reading. 5. Syntax is a tree of choices. 6. The numerical treatment of information is grounded on an arbitrary codification. 7. Literature can be numerical. 8. Movement belongs to the domain of the spectacular. 9. The problem resides in making literature into a spectacle (Balpe 1996, 1998b). The concept of virtual textures in the horizon of literary practice requires the encounter of the vast context that had been lost by the exclusive studies of the science of the text, before anything else, going against the ontological primacy of the text. The text's new stature implies some considerations. A text in a constant state of flux is not a text - it is simply a fluctuating text. You cannot escape textuality in real, contextualized everyday speech; a fortiori you cannot escape an e-mail either. Compared with print, hypertext embodies a different rhetoric, aesthetic, and types of conceptual and topological structures. First, hypertext destabilizes such fundamental notions as the text, the author, and the reader. For the author, hypertext means giving up control over the text, accepting the reader as a partner, finding his voice blended with a chorus of others. The unity of the text also disperses. For instance, in Lanestedt and George P. Landow's pedagogical hypertext The 'In Memoriam' Web (Eastgate Systems, 1992) and certain sections from Alfred , Lord Tennyson's poem of the same name, are linked with other blocks in the poem that resonate with them , as well as with critical commentary - some of it written by students who interpret the significance of the links.