(1309 words)
  • Ian Lancashire (University of Toronto)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

Cybertextuality is any theory of text, and of mental and physical functions associated with text, that is based on Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics, which theorizes any utterance (whether by human, animal, or machine) as being governed by bidirectional controls, consisting of both a sender’s message and a receiver’s feedback. A “hand-shake” mechanism with reader-receivers enables an author-sender to revise and re-transmit a noise-obscured or otherwise faulty message before moving on to another utterance. For example, email systems today use a cryptographic hash function or a lesser checksum, attached to each byte-packet, whose calculation at the point of receipt of the message will show whether any part of the …

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Lancashire, Ian. "Cybertextuality". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 January 2009
[, accessed 26 May 2015.]