Revolution Lullabye

November 20, 2006

Blogging Bolter

Filed under: Uncategorized — by revolutionlullabye @ 4:43 am

I’m sure he would be pleased.

Bolter, Jay David. Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. 2nd ed. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001.

Chapter 6: “Refashioned Dialogues: The Reading Path”

In this chapter, Bolter examines the evolution of the written text from the first transcribed oral stories to hypertexted Web pages by focusing on three dialogues: the dialogue between the reader and the writer, the dialogue between vebal and audiovisual modes of representation, and the dialogue among various new and old media forms” (117). He explains how the shift to digital writing is just another change in a history of progressively clarifying the meaning of texts through visual cues (like paragraphing and indexing.) Bolter also argues that educators can use the flexibility of hypertext to introduce their students to different ways of presenting and acquiring knowledge.

Quotable Quotes & Notable Notes:

“Both the home page and the gift site depend for their rhetorical effect on teh cultural belief in the democratization of the Web: that the Web allows individuals not only to represent themselves in words and images, but also to publish these representations to an audience of millions at no expense” (119). I usually don’t think of my “web presence” as an exercise of my freedom in a democracy, but it is. Before the advent of the Web, I couldn’t have made my ideas known to such a large audience without some capital – cultural, monetary, and otherwise.

Bolter mentions how the transformation of more academic/nonfiction texts on the Web as hypertexts has also led to a revolution of advertising – seen a pop-up lately? (118) Now, advertising comes to us – corporations can solicit our attention when we’re doing work, not just when we are sitting on the couch watching the Sunday football game.

“MOOs and chat rooms seem well-suited to exploring the issue of postmodern identity; perhaps because the student must construct her identity solely through her words” (116). Because I am translating my thoughts to a “permanent” text, hypertext that it is, I feel a hesitancy in expressing my ideas that I do not feel in casual conversation. There is expectancy here. I must say something.

Here comes Ong!: “If hypertext could remediate the voice of the text, it might suggest a return to oral forms, such as the dialogue” (112). Is speaking closer to what we really think than writing? I guess that’s the question…

“Hyperlinking could alter the form of the argument” (112).  I think this is a crucial thing to consider – to teach our students to consider. How does the actual form – the structure of an argument change how it is perceived? And how does how an argument is perceived change how the audience receives/believes it?

“But we should also remember that the original text was without book or scene divisions, paragraphing, indices, punctuation, or even word division. All these conventions of modern printing are significant organizational intrusions into the original work. They make it easier to read Sophocles, but they change the Sophocles that we read. We would find it difficult to read an English manuscript of the 14th century, or even an early printed book, beacuse of the visual conventions. Transferring earlier texts to digital form will be just another in teh series of such transitions” (111) I read this out loud to my brother-in-law as I read it because it struck me so much – he added that the Bible is the same way: the verses, the chapters were put there long after it was written, and those “invisible” separations have transformed into very visual ones that change the way the Bible is read, learned, and interpreted.

“The electronic writer still has available the techniques of hierarchalical organization from the technology of print, but she may choose to embed hierarchical structures within larger networks, or networks within hierarchies. The line, the tree, and the network all become visible structures at her and her reader’s disposal” (106).

“All scholarly research is expected to culminate in writing. The historian or scholar does research not for its own sake, but in order to have something to write, and the same can be said of many of the social and even the hard sciences. In order to be taken seriously, both scholarly and scientific writing must be nonfiction in a hierarchical-linear form (105).


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