(in the lecture hall foyer )

Personal narratives of traumatic events: Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close as a Hypertext.

Hypertext narratives became readily accessible to a computer literate audience in the late 1980s with the introduction of two software programs, Storyspace and Intermedia. What hypertext fiction has purported to offer is an alternative reading experience, where the reader interactively engages with the narrative. This precise feel of interactive co-authoring that the hypertext provides, has triggered our challenging attempt to transform a codex novel, Jonathan S. Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, into a readable hypertext narrative. This novel was published in 2005 as a response to 9/11 traumatic events. Its often fragmented storylines, which intersect and inform one another in a non-linear and intersecting manner, justify our unanimous agreement to turn it into a non-linear hypertext by taking advantage of its multiple, non-linear and fragmented personal accounts of loss and trauma. Our hypertext focuses on one of the three narrative voices in the novel, that of Grandpa’s, since the almost complete absence of punctuation marks, in combination with the stream-of-conscience writing technique, has allowed for an almost effortless segmentation of Grandpa’s narrative, without greatly affecting the coherence of his story. One of the most demanding tasks of the project has been mapping out the connections we would draw among its various selected passages in our transition from a codex to hypertextual format. Apart from the technical difficulties regarding our familiarization with the Twine program, its mode of operation and its features, there were multiple dilemmas and deadlocks related to the particular words or phrases which would function as hyperlinks, the position of the various passages in the interface of the program, the number and direction of links created among passages, as well as the construction of navigational prompts for the reader in order to avoid dead ends in the story. All of these difficulties were handled and resolved due to our determination to create a navigable and readable hypertext, which would allow the reader to enjoy the story, while making his/her own decisions regarding the threads of the narrative s/he would choose to follow. This project was part of the MA course Lit 2-546 Resisting Closure: Non-Linearity, Hypertext, Multimodality in Postmodern American Fiction (Course convener: Dr. Tatiani Rapatzikou).

Ada Leivada, Ioanna Mauridou, Iliana Tsaousidou, Dimitris Tsompanos