Blog Post 2: Bolter asks how writing spaces such as the scroll, codex, and book each "refashion its predecessor" (13). What does hypertext refashion? Integrate information from Bolter in your answer. Include at least one hyperlink.
Bolter's project, as I see it, is to conceptualize "writing space" in terms of history and materiality. The idea of "remediation" suggests that writing technology evolves, yet borrows from past writing technologies. He reviews the evolution of papyrus rolls to codex to printing press.
A few passages caught my attention this time around with Bolter. First, he defines text with computers and with print. Computer text has qualities of "flexibility, interactivity speed of distribution" (3) whereas print text has qualities of "stability and durability" (3). These are important characteristics in understanding writing spaces in online media vs. print media. He suggests that in today's world "we seem more impressed by the impermanence and changeability of text, and digital technology seems to reduce the distance between author and reader by turning the reader into an author herself" (4). This passage is characteristic of Bolter's understanding of writing on the web: he understands the new writing space to include the interchange of author and reader roles as well as interactive and changing text. These ideas form, I think, Bolter's understanding of "Writing Space." Elsewhere, for example, he talks about the ways that "voice" is altered through networked writing, welcoming changes to voice, whereas single texts have greater control over voice of the text (9).
Also characteristic of Bolter's understanding of writing space is the idea that "digital writing seems both old and new" (7). He says: "Although we began in the 1980s by using word processors and electronic documents, it has now become clear that we can use the computer to provide a writing surface with conventions different from those of print" (7). Again, there is a common link between old and new (computers as tools), but there is also something new (conventions specific to computer documents or web documents).
So what does hypertext refashion? In chapter 3, Bolter argues that hypertext remediates print. I believe he is using the terms "refashion" and "remediate" similarly; although he does provide a helpful definition of remediation on page 23: "Remediation is a process of cultural competition between or among technologies." Anyway, Bolter suggests that hypertext remediates print, and I believe this quote is worth stating in full:
"Hypertext in all its electronic forms--the World Wide Web as well as the many stand-along systems--is the remediation of print. Writers and designers promote hypertext as a means of improving on the older medium, or more precisely on the genres associated with the medium of print, such as the novel, the technical report, and the humanistic essay. Where printed genres are linear or hierarchical, hypertext is multiple and associative. Where a printed text is static, a hypertext responds to the reader's touch. The reader can move through a hypertext document in a variety of reading orders." (42)
If we understand hypertext as linking from one text to another (37), then hypertext represents, quite literally, a nonlinear textual form. The question is: even if print is written in linear form, does that mean readers read it that way? How many of us have read linear texts in nonlinear ways? We need to remember the role of the reader in our assumptions about texts. Perhaps hypertext simply makes links more visible. Have they always been there, in readers' handwritten notes? Or thoughts the reader might have about associations with other texts? Hypertext makes links visible, and facilitates connections more easily than print texts. In this way, hypertext is both old and new.