Lightness and Hypertext

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Susan Gibb, the great lit blogger, editor, and reviewer, has begun her exploration of Milan Kundera’s novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and his relationship with notions of hypertext. This is going to be truly healthy and exciting.

She writes:

While Kundera does not mention choice, it exists in Tomas’ selection of restaurant, time of arrival, table, etc. But the idea of hypertext based on choice of paths offered as opportunities is seen as a point from which lines of action are fanned out and out again that then bring the actor into situations and scenarios that will be substantially different from each other and most likely will not result in the same outcome because of that choice.

She goes on, referring to a section of ULB on coincidence:

Here I would take beauty to mean the orchestration of events that lead to the “composition” one writes as he moves through life, making choices that ultimately lead him through life. It would almost appear as a warning to be open to all opportunity by becoming aware that each moment may offer a single small change that fans off into a new direction.

The key term Susan draws up is “composition,” which is Kundera’s hallmark: the composing of human experience. Coincidence, in Kundera, becomes of a compositional element in terms of relation: what relates, in other words, what can be bound. Relations, generally speaking, drive the authorial voice in Kundera’s novel through which meaning is developed. (That may be way too general to be of any importance.)

Coincidence, as a subjective construct, can become, in others words, an issue of semantic thinking in crafting the hypertext link.

Coincidence, interestingly enough, also plays a key role for Ham Sandoval in The Life, for many of the same reasons in Kundera. But in the context of hypertext, it plays a greater role, I would argue, in augmenting the notion of meaning from coincidence and meaning from simultaneity.

Looking forward to more.


One response to “Lightness and Hypertext”

  1. susan says:

    It struck me that while Kundera faces the idea of fiction writing head-on, he likens life to a musical arrangement rather than what would seem more natural for him, that is, the beauty and art of written story. “Composition” seems parallel to “plot.”