History of Readingby Steven Roger Fischer
This final volume in the trilogy Language / Writing / Reading traces the complete story of reading from the time when symbol first became sign through to the electronic texts of the present day. After describing ancient forms of reading and the various modes that were necessary to understand different writing systems and scripts, Steven Roger Fischer covers China, Japan, the Americas and elsewhere, and examines the forms and developments of completely divergent dimensions of reading. With the Middle Ages in Europe and the Middle East, innovative re-inventions of reading emerged -- silent and liturgical reading, the use of spectacles, reading's focus in general education -- at which point printing transformed society's entire attitude to reading. Fischer charts the explosion of the book trade in this era, its audience and radically changed subject-matter; describes the emergence of broadsheets, newspapers and public readings; and traces the effect of changing fonts on general legibility. Discussing society's dedication to public literacy in the sweeping educational reforms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, he notes the re-invigorated book trade, the appearance of free libraries, improved domestic lighting, gender differences in reading matter, public advertising and the 'forbidden' lists of Church, State and the unemancipated.
Fischer looks to the future where read communication may soon exceed oral communication because of personal computers, mobile phones and the Net. He concludes by looking at 'visual language' and modern theories of how reading is processed in the human brain. Asking how the New Reader can reshape reading's future, he suggests a radical new definition of what reading truly is. An internationally acclaimed expert on linguistic history and ancient writing systems, Fischer here offers to the general reader a highly accessible and exciting account of reading's millennial transformations.
Meet the Author
Steven Roger Fischer is Director of the Institute of Polynesian Languages and Literatures in Auckland, New Zealand. A History of Reading is the final book in Fischer’s trilogy for Reaktion, which also includes A History of Language and A History of Writing.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >