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Introductory Words

To answer this question, let me first provide a little background to Barthes’ view of the ideal and writerly texts. It was in his literary criticism S/Z (1970) that he described the ideal text as such: ‘the networks are many and interact, without any one of them being able to surpass the rest; this text is a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one; the codes it mobilizes extend as far as the eye can reach, they are indeterminable’. He also showed how a text can have many different meanings simultaneously, and made a very important distinction between the ‘readerly’ and the ‘writerly’ text. Borrowing the descriptions provided in Lodge's book, the former ‘makes its readers passive consumers’, while the latter ‘invites its readers to an active participation in the production of meanings that are infinite and inexhaustible’ (in Lodge, 167).  And it is around this ‘definition’ of the writerly text that I will build my essay. I will first  touch on critical poststructuralist notions of how readers produce meaning. Then, I can  show how hypertext embodies these by managing to actively involve the reader in the reading process, with itself carrying a multitude of meanings on different levels.  


            Critical Poststructuralist