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Hypermedia and the Question of Canonicity

by Astrid Ensslin

This article is concerned with the question to what extent literary hypertext and hypermedia are compatible with the concept of canonicity. The discussion centres around ideologies surrounding canon and censorship, the causal relationship between canon and the curriculum and, finally, the role and possibilities of digital literature within traditional and innovative notions of canonicity. I argue that the traditionally static concept of the literary canon (including alternative canons) needs to be replaced by an inherently dynamic one, which follows the principles of avant-garde aesthetics. The article closes with an exemplary ‘rule canon’ for literary hypermedia.

1. Introduction
2. The literary canon
3. Canons as processes
4. The role of materiality
5. Closure or openness?
6. The end of the canon as we know it?
7. Canon and curriculum
8. Canonising hypermedia – an ‘apologetic crusade’?
9. References
10. Notes


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