Reading Hypertext and the Experience of Literature

David S. Miall, Teresa Dobson

Abstract


Hypertext has been promoted as a vehicle that will change literary reading, especially through its recovery of images, supposed to be suppressed by print, and through the choice offered to the reader by links. Evidence from empirical studies of reading, however, suggests that these aspects of hypertext may disrupt reading. In a study of readers who read either a simulated literary hypertext or the same text in linear form, we found a range of significant differences: these suggest that hypertext discourages the absorbed and reflective mode that characterizes literary reading.

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