The Changing Roles of the Reader and Writer in the Literature

1437 Words 6 Pages
The Changing Roles of the Reader and Writer in the Literature


The continuing emergence of innovative writing technologies allows people to express themselves and communicate in countless different ways from years past. With these new technologies comes a change in many of our learning and social traditions. The most important change is the metamorphosis taking place in the online literary world. The line between author and reader has become blurred as more and more technology-driven literature, like hypertext fiction, has become interactive. The whole idea of authorship has changed, which in turn affects the role of the reader.

In Writing Space, Jay Bolter further explores the changing roles of the
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With the new reader/writer roles also comes a change in the idea of what literature actually represents. Bolters states that literature is traditionally viewed as merely a reflection of the author’s world. The new participatory role of the reader therefore changes what the reading represents because the written work becomes its own independent world, constantly moving and changing depending on what path the reader wants to take (Bolter 169).

The new technological advancements in literature and writing outlets open limitless possibilities for authors to explore the multi-linear story. However, even though the reader role has become more participatory, some say their role still has limits. Bolter believes that the reader is free to move in the writing space as far as the author lets them (Bolter 68). Author Janet Murray agrees. She views authorship as procedural. This means the author creates the narrative possibilities for the reader to choose from (Murray 152). The reader is limited in that he or she can only “read” as far as the author decides to write. Even though there may be countless hyperlinks within the hypertexts, all of the words were written by the author. Murray explains this by comparing the author to a choreographer who supplies the set of steps to be…