nodes, not lexia

In Hypertext, George P. Landow introduces the term lexia for hypertext nodes. The term is taken from Roland Barthes' book S/Z, where it means "unit of reading" (or, in the French original: lexie)

Landow's point is that hypertext is the culmination of all poststructuralist theory, and Barthes' writerly text come true. By using lexia, Landow wishes to tie his hypertext theory to this tradition.

But there is a problem here. For Landow, the lexia is a fixed unit of the text: the node. To Barthes, a lexie was a unit of reading, an arbitrary unit chosen by the analyst, cut out from the text in order "to star it," to deny it its flow, to find its many deep structures.

To put it differently: any lexia in Landow's terms can be divided into a number of lexie in Barthes' terms for analytic purposes. I have done this.

I will call nodes nodes out of respect of Barthes masterful analysis, and to avoid coming up with a new term for the concept Barthes originally coined the term for, a concept that is most useful in hypertext theory.

Lexia are short, and contain "one unit of meaning." It is a good thing when that applies to nodes too, and like lexia, nodes connect in many ways. We should still be able to separate the two.

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