The Literary Web
: A textual transmission model of readership and hypertext

  • Simon Rowberry

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Since the turn of the millennium, hypertext (most popularly known as links on the World Wide Web) has become a banal part of our everyday life and has been largely neglected in scholarly discourse. As digital textual media becomes more versatile and re-usable in a variety of contexts, hypertext once more has become an important facet in digital design but this time as part of the reception of text rather than a foundational part of the text’s composition. The current project proposes a framework for understanding the recent transformation of hypertext through the Literary Web hourglass model, which posits that hypertext does not exist as a textual artefact, but rather as a trace of the processes of composition and reception. The Literary Web offers a toolkit for the analysis of literary texts through both a book historical and close reading perspective. This is demonstrated through a reading of Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire, a foundational work of hypertext fiction. Through reference to some playful examples of contemporary digital literature, termed the hypertext circus, the current project concludes by suggesting ways in which receptional forms of hypertext can be used to create a more open and creative form of hypertext
Date of Award1 Jul 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorCarolin Esser-Miles (Supervisor), Francis Mason (Supervisor) & Inga Bryden (Supervisor)

Cite this