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The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age

by

The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A reissue of the book that first examined the future of reading and literature in the electronic age, now with a new introduction and Afterword
 
In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to “hear” a book on audiotape or decipher its words in electronic form on a laptop screen? Can the world created by Henry James exist in an era defined by the work of Bill Gates? Are books as we know them—volumes printed in ink on paper, with pages to be turned as the reading of each page is completed—dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a bold challenge to the information technologies of today and tomorrow, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and the future of books.

Sven Birkerts is the author of five books of essays and a memoir. Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard and a member of the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars, he also edits the journal Agni, based at Boston University. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.
In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading, examining how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape or decipher its words in electronic form on a laptop screen? Can the world created by Henry James exist in an era defined by the work of Bill Gates? Are books as we know them—volumes printed in ink on paper, with pages to be turned as the reading of each page is completed—dead?
 
At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a bold challenge to the information technologies of today and tomorrow, The Gutenberg Elegies is an anyone interested about the past and the future of books.
"Birkerts' argument is persuasive, not only in its content but in its manner. His writing, which questions and muses at the leisurely pace of human speech, and which evinces both intelligence and feeling, reveals a complex individual personality, providing that vertical kind of connectedness that a thousand e-mail messages cannot."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Birkerts' argument is persuasive, not only in its content but in its manner. His writing, which questions and muses at the leisurely pace of human speech, and which evinces both intelligence and feeling, reveals a complex individual personality, providing that vertical kind of connectedness that a thousand e-mail messages cannot."—San Francisco Chronicle
 
"Birkerts on reading fiction is like M.F.K. Fisher on eating or Norman Maclean on fly casting. He makes you want to go do it."—The New Yorker
 
"A wise and humane book . . . [Birkerts] is telling us, in short, nothing less than what reading means and why it matters."—The Boston Sunday Globe
 
"The Gutenberg Elegies is both a celebration and a warning, a very important collection of essays for everyone who loves books, the reading as well as the writing of them. The stakes of his arguments could very well be our souls."—Booklist
 
"Birkerts, the author of three books of criticism, has written a collection of 14 essays discussing the changing role of reading as 'culture has begun to go through what promises to be a total metamorphosis.' However, unlike Richard Lanham in his optimistic The Electronic Word: Democracy, Technology, and the Arts, Birkerts is more pessimisitic about the future of reading as seductive technologies transform the reader-writer relationship. Through these essays, the author chronicles his passionate relationship with books and ventures into considerable depth on the demise of textual traditions and values. While acknowledging that millions of readers still read books, he is particularly concerned about the loss of readers of true literature. A good complementary volume to Lanham; recommended."—Library Journal

Synopsis:

"[A] THOUGHTFUL AND HEARTFELT BOOK...A literary cri de coeur--a lament for literature and everything implicit in it."

--The Washington Post

In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape, decipher its words on a screen, or interact with it on CD-ROM? Are books as we know them dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a boldly original challenge to the new information technologies, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and future of books.

"[A] wise and humane book....He is telling us, in short, nothing less than what reading means and why it matters."

--The Boston Sunday Globe

"Warmly elegiac...A candid and engaging autobiographical account sketches his own almost obsessive trajectory through avid childhood reading....This profoundly reflexive process is skillfully described."

--The New York Times Book Review

"Provocative...Compelling...Powerfully conveys why reading matters, why it is both a delight and a necessity."

--The Harvard Review

Synopsis:

In this boldly original challenge to the new information technologies--an essential work for anyone who cares about the future of books--Birkerts shows how, in our abrupt, heedless switch from book to screen, we as a society are allowing our inner lives to be diminished.

Synopsis:

A reissue of the book that first examined the future of reading and literature in the electronic age, now with a new introduction and Afterword

In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape or decipher its words in electronic form on a laptop screen? Can the world created by Henry James exist in an era defined by the work of Bill Gates? Are books as we know them--volumes printed in ink on paper, with pages to be turned as the reading of each page is completed--dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a bold challenge to the information technologies of today and tomorrow, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and the future of books.

About the Author

Sven Birkerts is the author of five books of essays and a memoir. Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard and a member of the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars, he also edits the journal Agni, based at Boston University. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780865479579
Author:
Birkerts, Sven
Publisher:
Faber & Faber
Subject:
Communication
Subject:
Journalism
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Books and reading
Subject:
Authors and readers
Subject:
Regional, Ethnic, Genre, Specific Subject
Subject:
General Literary Criticism & Collections
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20061131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Bibliography
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.52 x 0.8 in

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Related Subjects

Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Reading

The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age New Trade Paper
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$16.00 In Stock
Product details 272 pages Faber & Faber - English 9780865479579 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "[A] THOUGHTFUL AND HEARTFELT BOOK...A literary cri de coeur--a lament for literature and everything implicit in it."

--The Washington Post

In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape, decipher its words on a screen, or interact with it on CD-ROM? Are books as we know them dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a boldly original challenge to the new information technologies, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and future of books.

"[A] wise and humane book....He is telling us, in short, nothing less than what reading means and why it matters."

--The Boston Sunday Globe

"Warmly elegiac...A candid and engaging autobiographical account sketches his own almost obsessive trajectory through avid childhood reading....This profoundly reflexive process is skillfully described."

--The New York Times Book Review

"Provocative...Compelling...Powerfully conveys why reading matters, why it is both a delight and a necessity."

--The Harvard Review

"Synopsis" by , In this boldly original challenge to the new information technologies--an essential work for anyone who cares about the future of books--Birkerts shows how, in our abrupt, heedless switch from book to screen, we as a society are allowing our inner lives to be diminished.

"Synopsis" by ,
A reissue of the book that first examined the future of reading and literature in the electronic age, now with a new introduction and Afterword

In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape or decipher its words in electronic form on a laptop screen? Can the world created by Henry James exist in an era defined by the work of Bill Gates? Are books as we know them--volumes printed in ink on paper, with pages to be turned as the reading of each page is completed--dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a bold challenge to the information technologies of today and tomorrow, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and the future of books.

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