It is clear that the advent of computers has so far had almost no impact on the mainstream activities of producing, reading, or studying literary texts. This may be about to change. The prophecy that computing will transform the nature of literary studies is certainly one that we have heard before, but the widespread use of powerful personal computers in the last few years and the increasing role played by the internet, now makes such a forecast seem to carry more weight. Advocates of these technologies have recently begun to put a new and powerful argument: computer technology for modelling, representing, or creating texts is emerging that will allow us to bring these processes a major step nearer to the activities of actual readers; this in turn will revolutionize understanding of the nature of textuality itself. If this is true, the forthcoming shift in the domain of the literary will be on a tectonic scale, analogous to that brought about in the visual arts by the invention of photography and film.