3 Responses to Searching for Paratexts in the Digital World

  1. This is a great session, because it shows how digital projects need to account for a range of material around any textual object. Sometimes paratexts are more interesting than the original material they are commenting on! (but that’s only one subjective opinion.)

  2. Suzan, your session proposal is making me think about digital paratextual objects. Websites, for instance, have advertisements which would be a direct equivalent of print paratextual objects. But I wonder about born digital paratexts too. Perhaps the URL? Would the code under the website be a paratext or part of the “main” text?

    • Ed Palmer says:

      Defining what the text is might possibly be one of the hardest things. As you bring up, Dhanashree, how would we classify the code underlying a digital object? I could easily see this both ways, and perhaps it depends on the focus.

      Your example of advertising is an interesting point in another direction. Advertisements will be ephemeral, come from another source than the author of the “main” text, and potentially different for each visitor, so how do we come up with a common frame of reference for discussion if we include that as the paratext? Or is the content not the important thing, but rather the presence and positioning relative to other things?

      However, I think the other trappings of a website: logos, menus, background colors/images, etc., both could be considered and are interesting to discuss as paratext.

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