The hypotext is the earlier text upon which the hypertext is based or which the hypertext makes reference to, according to Gerard Genette's Palimpests, a wonderful book about intertextuality, hypertextuality, and other kinds of "literature of the second degree".

Additionally and more personally, hypotext is an idea thought of by Mumonkan and me (long before reading the Gennette book) to descibe the phenomenon whereby one "knows" something but can't remember where one heard or saw it. A constellation of free-floating, unconnected ideas, perhaps precipitated by our post-modern condition of information overload and attention deficit. example:

"Yeah I think that band is supposed to be cool."

"How do you know? Wait, did I tell you that?"

"I can't remember, but someone I know must have thought they were great."

Obviously, a hypotextual reference is technically of less credibility and value than a properly credited one. However, if you're in the right mood it can be pretty fun.

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