In “Nonlinearity and Literary Theory,” Espen J. Aarseth says, “To present nonlinear textuality as a phenomenon relevant to textual theory, one must rethink the concept of textuality to comprise linear as well as nonlinear texts” (53). According to the American Heritage Dictionary linear means “1. Of or resembling a line; straight. 2. Having only one dimension” (“linear” 493). The term linear comes from the Latin linearis, meaning, “belonging to a line” (“linear,” Online Etymology Dictionary).

Linear texts are what we think of traditionally when we open a book, read the foreword, proceed to Chapter One and move from left to right, page to page, until we reach the end, which may include a bibliography, an appendix, or a works cited page.