eight years, Robert Coover has gone from declaring the end of books
to announcing the demise of hypertext. In a recent piece for the online
magazine Feed entitled "Literary
Hypertext: The Passing of the Golden Age," Coover waxes over the disappearance
of what he terms "the golden age of literary hypertext" whose collapse
he attributes to "the emergence of the World Wide Web." The warning is
frank. Hypertext has reached its apex.
those who've only recently lost their footing and fallen into the flood
of hypertext, literary or otherwise, it may be dismaying to learn that
they are arriving after the golden age is already over, but that's in the
nature of golden ages: not even there until so seen by succeeding generations.
Coover, who heralded
the end of the book in the now often quoted New
York Times piece from June of 1992, "The
End of Books," believes that hypertext, in only eight years of popular
usage, has fallen victim to the same fate. In
much the same way that video supposedly killed the radio star, hypertext,
as Coover informs us, has fallen victim to a "great diffusion and popularization"
("Literary Hypertext") brought on by the emergence and success of the World