Rethinking the idea of the “text”

Is a text really stable? Is it entity? In a lecture during my final year at the University of Leicester, one of the English lecturers posed a a question: What is a text? After soliciting various answers from the masses, he argued that a text is anything – email, note, manuscript and so on. So let us assume this generalised view is so. However is the entity stable? Is it whole?

Think about the letter or email (there are enough similarities). It is an entity of text which has time/date, to, from, (sometimes) a subject, and a body. We take it as one thing.

However think about it. The date/time is an object. To and from are (generally) separate objects with (generally) separate identifiers. The bosy itself can contain other identifiers such as a nickname, reference to an act/event/letter/party and so on. Each thing can be seen as a single. So is a text really a collection of identifiers put together in a format?

If that view is taken, then how do we see a text? How can we approach it and what does it allow us to do with it? Instead of publishing as a platform, would it allow for the text itself as a platform or service?