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This book is a study of the computer as a new technology for reading and writing — a technology that may replace the printing press as our principal medium of symbolic communication. One of the main subjects of Writing Space is hypertext, a technique that allows scientists, scholars, and creative writers to construct texts that interact with the needs and desires of the reader. Bolter explores both the theory and practice of hypertext, demonstrating that the computer as hypertext represents a new stage in the long history of writing, one that has far-reaching implications in the fields of human and artificial intelligence, cognitive science, philosophy, semiotics, and literary theory.
Through a masterful integration of introductory, historical, illustrative, and theoretical material as well as an accompanying diskette containing a sample of hypertextual writing, Bolter supports his claim that the computer will carry literacy into a new age — the age of electronic text that will emerge from the "age of print that is now passing." His reflections on literacy in contemporary culture lead him to a compelling conclusion: ironically, cultural literacy is becoming almost synonymous with computer literacy.
Contents: Introduction. Part I: The Visual Writing Space. The Computer as a New Writing Space. Writing as Technology. The Elements of Writing. Seeing and Writing. Part II: The Conceptual Writing Space. The Electronic Book. The New Dialogue. Interactive Fiction. Critical Theory and the New Writing Space. Part III: The Mind as a Writing Space. Artificial Intelligence. Electronic Signs. Writing the Mind. Writing Culture. Conclusion.