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Old 09-14-2008, 08:33 PM   #1
hidari
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Can Intelligent Literature survive the digital age?

an article from the Independent. Not sure if it should go here or in the news.

Hope is spurs a bit of interest:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...ge-926545.html

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Old 09-15-2008, 06:12 AM   #2
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:46 AM   #3
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Some interesting stuff there, and also some very stupid assumptions.

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Nobody is ever going to read Tolstoy on this fatuous device. It's an electronic simulation of a page, but it'll never convince you it's a book, to be read by your sentient eyes and brain. It doesn't have the solidity, the pages, the tactile companionship of a book.
Everyone has a right to prefer a physical book to an electronic one. But assuming that because this particular writer doesn't like the feel of an e-book means that no-one will ever read Tolstoy using it... that is not only stupid but also insulting

By the way, since I bought my Cybook I started reading Proust for the first time. Of course I could have done it any time, but it just happens that I saw it as a free download and finally decided to give it a try. And I'm loving it, tactile companionship or not.
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Old 09-15-2008, 08:10 AM   #4
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It's a lifestyle choice.

Turn off the TV and one has time for lots of things --- I still read to my children (aged 13 and 8) every weeknight --- we're currently doing World War II, an interlude from Presidential biographies having just finished those in order from Washington up through FDR, and have read _The Hobbit_, _The Lord of the Rings_, Susan Cooper's _The Dark is Rising_ pentalogy and a lot of other classics. Once we finish the Presidents we're going to go back and do all the world's mythologies starting w/ Gilgamesh, then famous explorers, inventors, mathematicians and leaders (chronologically --- the best plan I've worked up for this is just going through the local library stacks, noting the biographies I want to read to the kids along w/ birth dates, then sorting chronologically --- anyone have a better suggestion?)

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Old 09-15-2008, 10:00 AM   #5
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But it's not going to happen on the Sony Reader. Nobody is ever going to read Tolstoy on this fatuous device. It's an electronic simulation of a page, but it'll never convince you it's a book, to be read by your sentient eyes and brain. It doesn't have the solidity, the pages, the tactile companionship of a book. You'll never know where you are in the story, or how much of it is left. You won't have the cover artwork, to steal inside your head and become a lifelong reminder of the book it encased.

And you can't turn the pages. I spent half an hour reading Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (the first book to be installed) with my fingers itching to turn a page; "turn" one electronically, and the screen goes blank before the next page is displayed.
The whole article makes me wish stuffy book snob dinosaurs without a clue will die out, sooner rather than later.
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by acidzebra View Post
The whole article makes me wish stuffy book snob dinosaurs without a clue will die out, sooner rather than later.
Or at least admit to the fact that an e-reading device is convinient. Instead of going off about how reading on them will make us all stupid.


And I HAVE read Tolstoy on mine, and enjoyed it! So there!
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:17 AM   #7
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I understand perfectly that he may personally not feel comfortable with the e-book idea. One of my sisters really hated it (which is strange because she is the die-hard technophile of the family). However, I don't think the thought entered her mind that I would become incapable of reading "intelligent" stuff just because I read e-books.

I also noted the comment on the small percentage of people who read hardbacks rather than paperbacks. I have always hated hardbacks, they are ugly and impractical. Does that mean I think that people reading hardbacks are stupid? Strangely enough, no. But I wonder if the journalist thinks that people reading paperbacks is another sign of decadence
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Old 09-15-2008, 10:36 AM   #8
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Is it a proof of their arguments that I was not able to finish their article, or maybe it was because of the sanctimonious, elitist point of view? Who knows? I'm off to the next forum topic!
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:39 PM   #9
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I too skipped large parts of the article. Having read all eleven of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books over Easter I must have just dumbed down this summer.
Oh well back to Janet and John I suppose!
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Old 09-15-2008, 01:03 PM   #10
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I too skipped large parts of the article. Having read all eleven of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books over Easter I must have just dumbed down this summer.
Oh well back to Janet and John I suppose!
Well, the point of the article was that the skill to read something more complicated or deeper than Robert Jordan had disappeared or was disappearing.

And that very well might be true.
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Old 09-16-2008, 04:37 AM   #11
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I have only ever read 'the classics' digitally. As I wouldn't want to buy something I can get legally for free.

This article is your usual 'grumpy old man' quote of "It's not like it was in our day"
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Old 09-16-2008, 05:43 AM   #12
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Well, the point of the article was that the skill to read something more complicated or deeper than Robert Jordan had disappeared or was disappearing.

And that very well might be true.
On the other hand, a publisher like Random House has found it worthwhile to translate increasing numbers of books from the Modern Library, for instance.

Few of them are light reading.
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Old 09-16-2008, 07:58 AM   #13
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A typical sentence starts out something along the lines of "It seems that......" and then makes a convenient point. The author of the article then swiftly transfers the convenient point to another area and in the transfer the rather dubious original statement based on the proof of "It seems that....." takes on the appearance of a proven fact.

So it seems that we are all succumbing to the disease of short attention spans. Is there anything other than anecdotal evidence to support this theory? Is this article anything other than the wistful theorizing of a G.O.M (grumpy old man)?

The really delightful thing about arguments employing broad generalizations as proof is that it is so easy to find an exception and so demolish the entire argument. So it is with this article. All that then remains is that this person is not happy and he has an odd excuse for his state of mind, namely the intellectual shortcomings of others.
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Old 09-16-2008, 08:28 AM   #14
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Books? Preposterous! The only words that can be read with any intimacy are in cuneiform on slate tablets. You modern techno geeks with your papyrus scrolls and paper books are going to destroy words forever. You'll never understand the true meaning of writers who carefully formed each symbol hunched over a pre-fired tablet with stylus in hand. Dispense with your high-tech rolls of tree bark and neatly stacked white rectangles now! Read words the way man was meant to read them!


John Walsh says "The callowness of the e-book makes you weep"
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:05 AM   #15
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Books? Preposterous! The only words that can be read with any intimacy are in cuneiform on slate tablets. You modern techno geeks with your papyrus scrolls and paper books are going to destroy words forever. You'll never understand the true meaning of writers who carefully formed each symbol hunched over a pre-fired tablet with stylus in hand. Dispense with your high-tech rolls of tree bark and neatly stacked white rectangles now! Read words the way man was meant to read them!


John Walsh says "The callowness of the e-book makes you weep"
Er, cuneiform is written on unfired clay tablets. You write it using a wedge-shaped "stamp" in the soft clay. Once you've written your tablet, you fire it. How do you write it on slate?
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