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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 15, 2014

Hyperfiction, the Pyndustry, and Luhmann's Systems Theory

  • Luc Herman and Bruno Arich-Gerz


This article first discusses the new medial literary form of hyperfiction in terms of an exchange with and between the 'old' media of film and print literature and their respective theoretizations by Joachim Paech and the hypertheorists of the 1990s. The calculated failure of the discussion leads, in the second part, to a new framing of literary texts and their criticism that pivots on Niklas Luhmann's systems theory and his medium / form distinction in particular. The writings of Thomas Pynchon and the criticism of the so-called Pyndustry will help exemplify this model, which conceptualizes hyperfictions and their reading / criticism from a new angle. At the same time, the article demonstrates that Gravity's Rainbow, a novel which critics have frequently read in terms of - or even as - film, can equally be focalized not only as prefiguring hypertextuality, but as a case in point for a hypertextual-like collaborative enterprise on the level of its criticism.

Online erschienen: 2014-4-15
Erschienen im Druck: 2006-7-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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