Source of "Amphiony Critique#9" is

ISBN 0-8018-4281-6

If hypertext makes determining the beginning of a text difficult
because it both changes our conception of text and permits readers to
"begin" at many different points, it similarly changes the sense of
an ending. Readers cannot only choose different points of ending, they
can also continue to add to the text, to extend it, to make it more
than it was when they began to read. As Ted Nelson, one of the origi-
nators of hypertext, points out: "There is no Final Word. There can
be no final version, no last thought. There is always a new view, a new
idea, a reinterpretation. And literature, which we propose to electron-
ify, is a system for preserving continuity in the face of this fact....
Remember the analogy between text and water. Water flows freely, ice
does not. The free-flowing, live documents on the network are sub-
ject to constant new use and linkage, and those new links continually
become interactively available. Any detached copy someone keeps
is frozen and dead, lacking access to the new linkage".
Here, as in several other ways, Bakhtin's concep-
tion of textuality anticipates hypertext. Caryl Emerson, his translator
and editor, explains that "for Bakhtin 'the whole' is not a finished
entity; it is always a relationship....Thus, the whole can never be
finalized and set aside: when a whole is realized, it is by definition
already open to change"
Hypertext blurs the end boundaries of the metatext, and conven-
tional notions of completion and a finished product do not apply
to hypertext, whose essential novelty makes difficult defining and
describing it in older terms, since they derive from another educa-
tional and informational technology and have hidden assumptions
inappropriate to hypertext. Particularly inapplicable are the related
notions of completion and a finished product. As Derrida recognizes,
a form of textuality that goes beyond print "forces us to extend...
the dominant notion of a 'text,'" so that it "is henceforth no longer a
finished corpus of writing, some content enclosed in a book or its
margins but a differential network, a fabric of traces referring endlessly
to something other than itself, to other differential traces."