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Aarseth's Variates for Text Classification

Page history last edited by ameliaClark 11 years, 8 months ago

In the article "Nonlinearity and Literary Theory," Aarseth outlines the following variates for classification of texts.  Texts often combine elements of multiple categories, so that a text can be described as not only non-linear, but asynchronously transient, dynamic, and non-linear.


     Topology - linear vs. nonlinear

          A traditional novel is linear and afternoon is nonlinear (arbitrary sequence of scriptons -

          Aarseth specifies intervention of cybernetic agency in ordering of scriptons)

     Dynamics - static vs. dynamic (intratextonic dynamics and textonic dynamics)

          Dynamic/static refers to whether or not the contents of the scriptons remain the same

          Dynamics can be either intratextonic (the number of textons reamain the same) or textonic

          ( the number of textons within the scripton changes)         

     Determinability - determinate vs indeterminate

          Are the scriptons always in the same order?  Then it is determinate ( a novel).

          Does the order of the scriptons change? Then it is indeterminate (choose your own


     Transiency - transient (synchronous and asynchronous) vs. intransient

          If scriptons appear with the passing of time, the text is transientSynchronous transience

          means time passes normally, or as 'real time' (William Gibson's Agrippa). 

          Asynchronous transience is when the passing of fictional time is arbitrary (the Sims).


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