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in its most literal connotation is to open a discussion of texts that are “over” or “beyond” traditional print texts. “Hypertext”, in George Landow’s use of the term, designates a genre of interactive writing in which electronic form facilitates the openness of a work among lexias. The form enables an agency in the reader to choose his or her own path through the work. Does hypertext necessarily indicate only electronic texts? Following Barthes’ “From Work to Text,” the work is merely a single iteration of a larger “text” that flows through the minds of readers and writers. In memory and in the many ways we apply a “text,” discourse exists in an open universe without beginning or end. Sometimes writers neglect to associate their ideas to a source. Readers often draw connections between what they read in one novel and what they have read, or heard about, in the past. In both these senses, works live intertexually. ! Back in 2003, a classmate recommended Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves because of my interest in the horror film genre. What I found in the novel was both a form that defied remediation and at the same time a narrative that overflowed from its pages begging to be translated into new media forms. After completing the first draft of a screenplay adaptation a few years later, I anxiously rung Pantheon. The secretary rudely disconnected our call after declaring the rights unavailable. The work defies remediation in terms of copyright, too. ! To understand the dilemma of a work that both resists remediation while simultaneously overflowing its pages, the notion of non-electronic hypertext serves as a rich term for analysis. Landow designates two forms of non-electronic hypertext in terms of intertextuality and openness. Defining hypertext in print, Landow channels Barthes in explaining that authors play upon ‘texts’ in an explicit nature in footnotes (Hypertext 3.0, 55). Implicitly, authors weave ‘texts’ in fictional works by relying upon historical precedents of form and content. The flow from text to work, in a Barthean sense, relies less upon a verifiable citation than on an inference in terms of criticism; any given author could have been influenced by another.
“I believe we are often just as influenced by writers we do not read as we are influenced by those we do” (Danielewski, in Critique, 114).
Danielewski, obviously proud of his baby, conveys an almost pretentious guise in interviews when explaining his decade-long gestation of House of Leaves. He mentions a plethora of authorial influences, most of which he admits never to have read firsthand. Most interesting, however, are the levels of authorship within the novel itself. Without directly crediting Nabokov or Wallace, Danielewski credits House of Leaves to Zampano, a fictional character supposed to be the author of the manuscript on The Navidson Record. Danielewski removed himself one step from the role of author (he might in fact be called the editor of the lexias that his characters have
"!I haven’t read these books either. a documentary film described in Zampano’s manuscript.S. 106). Truant’s footnotes will appear in Courier font while Zampano’s will appear in Times. Oddly enough.written). Kubrick. The film needs to be read. read the book. cummings. the author refuses to sell the film rights to the novel. A YouTube query for “The Navidson Record” returns a handful of attempts to recreate the documentary in live action. Figure 1: Cover of the book Figure 2: Title page of the book The nontraditional graphic design of the novel also has precedents in such works as McLuhan’s Gutenberg Galaxy and Derrida’s Glas. etc. a strong theme in the novel is the fluidity of realities contained in and flowing out of the diegesis. the novel finds a rich second life in YouTube fan-maker culture. Johnson. The so-called ‘originality’ claimed by many commentators must be limited to my decision to use the wonderful techniques developed by Mallarme. “Anyone with a grasp of the history of narrative can see that House of Leaves is really enjoying the fruits of a long line of earlier literary experimentation. Sterne. B. Truffaut.. – and of course Hitchcock. "If you want to see this movie. in Critique. We also wish to note here that we have never met Mr. Hollander..! 3 From an interview with Mark Z. Danielewski conducted for Random House by Sophie Cottrell . the archivist of Zampano’s manuscript. Truant. “The Editors” interject: “Mr.1 Enter Truant. etc. Welles.” If can attribute the intra-diegetic persona of The Editors to Danielewski. It is likely. provides the backbone of the novel. The Navidson Record. he tells his parallel story in the form of footnotes and appendices."3 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 On page 4 of the novel. revealing a passive flow from earlier works into a larger intertextual docuverse. House of Leaves reads like a 500-page review of a film that you haven’t seen – that you can’t see. and so on” (Danielewski.2 Precedents in narrative and typography inarguably influence Danielewski’s choices in the making of House of Leaves. Indeed. then Truant and Zampano rise in status from merely fictional projections to the extra-diegetic status as co-authors. The first few pages of results for a “House of Leaves” query return numerous book reviews and fan-made trailers. that he was also only indirectly familiar with 20th century precedents in typesetting. For this reason. given Danielewski’s admission that he hadn’t read Nabokov or Wallace.
What one can express in a text varies considerably from what can be expressed in a comparable film. In the case of The Navidson Record. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 5 Ariadne Blayde and Trevor Scott.com/showthread.us/viewtopic. not to mention The Wizard of Oz. ! The most expressive remediations of House of Leaves value form above content. "Exploration #4" shows that the novel resists remediation because the images are too literal in live action. a sequel. only results in newness for its own sake.php?3939-The-Navidson-Record> 6 Hairspray.php?f=2&t=133> and “The Navidson Record” on the MarkZDanielewski. As a filmmaker. “Exploration #4” < http://youtu. But I think I realized something along the way – something that seems to have been lost on the makers of the YouTube versions of “The Navidson Record. in this case a book that exists most naturally in its literary form. More than that.” a segment of the documentary described in the novel. fixed in images that mean nothing by themselves. Of all the strategies attempted by YouTube makers to express Danielewski’s novel in time-based form.be/GYkr1bDwfXs> See “Is the Navidson Record Real?” on This is not for us web forum <http://thisisnotfor.4 The experience of reading the descriptive sections of the documentary in the novel conveys an intense feeling in the reader that the film should exist.’ What seems to be the case more so today is that the work isn’t complete until it’s been made into a movie. Youtube maker culture resists textual fixity with a vengeance. devoid of commentary. A cinematic. the film lives entirely in its context within the three intermingling narratives of Truant. locked into its own ambient being.6 Only upon the completion of such a process does the text outlive its cultural utility. readers persist in the reality of the film within the pages of the novel. live action version of such a film would be unwatchable. It took a while for me to come to terms with the fact that I would never be able to bring “The Navidson Record” to the screen.” The remediation of such a work. the description of the film is not the same as the film. Footloose. a prequel. .A pair of NYU grad students adapt “Exploration #4. as if the multiple authors are each telling the reader in different ways that the film cannot and should not exist. The film is subjective through their eyes.com forum < http://forums. I had spent so much time translating the passages from the novel into screenplay format. Zampano. or nonexistent.5 It calls for adaptation while at the same time resisting fixed images. into an awkwardly staged drama.markzdanielewski. The pseudo-documentarian style of Blayde and Scott is the least appropriate form for House of Leaves. within the materiality of print typography and the narration of multiple subjectivities. ABBA (Mama Mia). it was crippling to confront the image-as-text that defied remediation back into image. Spiderman. the images in the novel had manifested with such vitality in my mind that I didn’t want to let them go. a Broadway play. and a novelization. Their motto could just as well be: ‘the book isn’t finished until it’s been adapted into a movie. In the novel. and Zampano’s description of Navidson’s journey. The Navidson Record appreciates its most profound form. lost. What we have to rely upon and accept is the expression of an image in language. While Truant and Zampano insist that the documentary is alternatively unfindable.
The many attempts at digitizing the book. A discussion thread in the Kindle users forum lay out the points clearly. such as the window within the page (figure 3). Gielis chose lexias from House of Leaves that emphasize the novel’s experimental typesetting.8 Such interplay between pages doesn’t !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 7 8 “House of Leaves – Kinetic Typography” <http://youtu. raises the work to a higher level. the text comes alive in a way that Danielewski could never have imagined. the documentary adaptation. etc. While the graphic representation in the novel serves many metaphorical uses. The print novel.html>! . have proven that the printed form is the most appropriate to its graphic design (primarily due to the relationship between the typography and the reader’s experience).uk/kindleusersforum/thread11561. It would be a sublime experience to read House of Leaves in an electronic hypertext format. however.co.be/6IXGvkE0pvk> “House of Leaves as an eBook?” Kindle Users Forum. we find multiple remediations of content and form that play upon the intertextuality of the novel as non-electronic hypertext.kuforum. the kinetic typography plays upon the images related in the text and expresses them in animation. for example. Gielis’ animation brings something to the book that the book itself was unable to express in its fullest.). the pages need to be tactile and visible in material juxtaposition. allows the reader to jump around in the pages in material form only. the kinetic typography.7 A class project in Adobe After Effects. <http://www. Such are the qualities of the most successful and expressive remediations. furthering the connections made in the novel through juxtaposition and materially expressed across pages (figure 4).James Gielis’ kinetic typography video rises above the rest. Animating the passages. words that had only previously been fixed in print. In effect. The only thing missing from these examples is the interactivity inherent in electronic hypertext. Figure 3: Still frame from “House of Leaves – Kinetic Typography” In the various forms of House of Leaves (the novel.
Each factor plays into the novel’s rich life beyond its pages. in its author’s mind. in the picture (figure 4) we see the visual juxtaposition of frames and the manipulation of pages space conveyed across lexias. While the novel. complex issues of authorship. Figure 4 The reader of House of Leaves experiences a high level of agency in terms of navigating the text in material form. Typography. Text as graphic design becomes less a matter of what is written than what is visualized on the page. The novel is “open” in many senses. Youtube maker culture flies in the face of definitive authorship. ! ! . it is not in House of Leaves but rather inside fan culture. other voices can be heard in dispute of the work as a hermetic articulation of a single vision. a facilitated behavior that may help to account for the many remediations of the text. calls attention to how the look of the page communicates meaning by treating text as a visual element” (198).exist in digital format. and ambivalence toward remediation. While Danielewski resists the generic reappropriation of his work. For example. If Truant and Zampano are still around today. on the other hand. Trimbur’s investigation of “the page as a unit of discourse” provides a useful framework to argue against the digitization of a book such as House of Leaves: “[A]s readers we are supposedly not looking at the visual design of writing but following the writer’s throughts. highlighting the juxtaposition of visual elements as well as the interrelation of texual elements in typesetting. Creative uses of typography support the agency of the reader in making choices of which lexia to read in which order. In vast networks of cultural creativity we find both appropriate and inappropriate remediations of House of Leaves. may have found its most profound form in the non-electronic hypertext. including but not limited to Danielewski’s indirect appropriation of 20th century experimental fiction. namely in the minds of readers as well as in their efforts to remediate House of Leaves in digital forms.
<http://www. Web. “Delivering the Message: Typography and the Materiality of Writing. Gielis.0. John.Bibliography Barthes. New York: Pantheon. Baltimore: #$%&'!($)*+&'!. 12 Oct 2013. 44:2 (2003): 99-135. Blayde. George.randomhouse.''3!"4456 McCaffery. Web. Ariadne and Trevor Scott./'+01!2/.com/boldtype/0400/danielewski/interview.d. 11 Aug 2009.” Rhetoric and Composition as Intellectual Word (2002): 188-202. n. 1977. Danielewski. Stephen Heath. “From Work to Text. Web.be/6IXGvkE0pvk> Landow. .” Critique. “Haunted House – An Interview with Mark Z.be/GYkr1bDwfXs> Cottrell. <http://youtu. Hypertext 3. Mark Z. 12 Oct.” Image. Sophie. Music.&+-. “House of Leaves Kinetic Typography.html> Danielewski. NY: Hill and Wang. <http://youtu.” YouTube. Roland. Trans. “Exploration #4. 5 May 2009. Trimbur. Text. 2000. 2013. James. Larry and Sinda Gregory.” YouTube. House of Leaves.” Random House: Bold Type. “A Conversation with Mark Danielewki.
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