Eastgate Systems      Serious Hypertext
Anticipations of Hypertext    


Literary hypertext has many antecedents, and many print works are are often cited as the ancestors of hypertext fiction. Hunting for precedents is not always the best use of our time: it is more important to look at new art with a fresh eye than to argue over dusty family trees.

In addition to their value as precedent and (perhaps) as inspiration, the following books are likely to interest readers who enjoy hypertext fiction.

Pricksongs and Descants
by Robert Coover
out of print (astonishingly, and -- we hope -- temporarily)

A brilliant collection of short stories including Coover's famous "The Babysitter". "The Babysitter" is sometimes considered a hypertext, but is actually a finely crafted linear tale that fragments time (and the moral narrative) in fascinating ways.

It is very important not to confuse "The Babysitter", a distrubing and experimental story, with the movie, which is much less interesting.

by Julio Cortazar, Gregory Rabassa trans.
Order your copy: $12.80

A paper hypertext, which instructs the reader to pursue different paths or sequences.

by Jorge Luis Borges
Order your copy: $7.96

Janet Murray, in Hamlet On The Holodeck, writes that "for many postmodern writers, the quintessential multiform narrative is the much darker story in Jorge Luis Borges' 'Garden of the Forking Paths'."

Silvio Gaggi, in From Text To Hypertext, points out the many ways "Garden of the Forking Paths" illuminates Stuart Moulthrop's hypertext, Victory Garden.

Dictionary of the Khazars
by Milorad Pavic
Order your copy of the female edition: $12.80
Order your copy of the male edition: $12.80

A remarkable exploration of the meaning of literary truth, this dictionary contains three sections -- Moslem, Christian, and Jewish -- and appears in two editions -- male and female.

If on a winter's night a traveller
by Italo Calvino
Order your copy: $9.60

"A novel in the form of a long meditation on fiction making, a story that keeps unraveling and restarting itself. In a world that is perceived as a vast and interconnected web, how is the author to know which thread to pull on first?

"...A new kind of story pleasure, a delight not in the tale but in the fertile mind of the writer." -- Janet Murray, Hamlet on the Holodeck

In Memoriam, Maud, and Other Poems
by Alfred Tennyson
Order your copy: $5.65

The implicit hypertextuality of Tennyson's In Memoriam is the subject of Landow and Lanestedt's classic hypertext, The In Memoriam Web.

The French Lieutenant's Woman
by John Fowles
Order your copy: $5.59

A popular and well-liked experimental novel, offering multiple endings.

Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
by Laurence Sterne
Order your copy: $7.96

An 18th century memoir that prefigures the postmodern fascination with the interplay between the surface of the book -- the book as an artifact -- and the narrative therein.

Life: A User's Manual
by Georges Perec, David Bellos trans.
Order your copy: $19.95

Voted "novel of the decade" by Le Monde, the best-known exemplar of the Oulipo movement. Filled with puzzles and play, dense and fascinating.


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The books on this page are offered in association with amazon.com.

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