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Standardising hypermedia format for literary studies

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Abstract

This paper suggests a standard format for creating hypermedia software. Teachers and students of literature have taken up the use of hypermedia technology enthusiastically and so we are rapidly arriving at a situation where a mushrooming of software for language and literature teaching will be faced. We will arrive much sooner at a situation where searching for an appropriate software would be as difficult as finding an appropriate article today. Technology is expected to optimise information to maximise knowledge: the confusion created by Gutenburg's invention is because duplication cannot be avoided. The suggested format is based on the major pillars of literary criticism - author centred, text centred and reader centred - and develops from the word to the work level. The findings have been demonstrated in the form of Techno criticism, a hypermedia program created on HyperCard.

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This paper argues that simpler techniques explaining visual symbols (the referents) such as illustrations, annotation of texts with commentaries, explanations, word meanings, maps and pictures are not sufficient for conveying the message in culturally displaced (i.e. foreign language) texts. The definition of technology in relation to the teaching of literature would go beyond the machine-tool definition and into the hermeneutic sciences, which say that the message of the literary text lies above the lexical and syntactic levels in the creative unconscious of the gifted individuals. The transfer of the message has not been successfully achieved even with the combination of different media. Literary texts create an overall impression with the help of pieces of information, and hypertext seems to promise a medium for providing explanations which would help convey the ‘essence’ of the texts.