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This reader considers how writing practices, old and new, affect the ways we write, read, think, and looks at how writing is influenced by historical events, cultural values, and technological advances.
This challenging reader examines transformations in reading and writing, from the oral traditions of the pre-print era to the hypertext of the digital age, to analyze the impact of these changes on our reading and writing practices. With its historical and cultural analysis perspectives, it has appeal for any instructor interested in having their students think critically about the changing nature of writing. The readings–which include ancient philosophy, personal essays, literary narratives, and accessible scholarly discussions all centered on the past, present, and future of writing–are intellectually ambitious and encourage active, critical reading. A pedagogical system of “Suggested Groupings” in the back of the text clusters the readings under specific themes that explore the complex relationships between the selections. Innovative writing assignments let students experiment with different communicative forms and media. Numerous visual images emphasize visual literacy.
Preface for Instructors.
Introduction for Students.
Nicholson Baker, Deadline.
Dennis Baron, From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literary Technologies.
Naomi Baron, The Art and Science of Handwriting.
Sven Birkerts, Into the Electronic Millennium.
Jay David Bolter, The New Dialogue.
Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel.
Frederick Douglass, From Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself
Paul Duguid and John Seeley Brown, The Social Life of Documents.
Elizabeth Eisenstein, From Some Features of Print Culture.
Peter Elbow, The Shifting Relationships between Speech and Writing.
Benjamin Franklin, From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
William Gibson, Johnny Mnemonic.
George Gissing, From New Grub Street
Adam Gopnik, Return of the Word.
E.D. Hirsch, You Can Always Look It Up - Or Can You?.
Homer, From Iliad.
Steven Johnson, Links.
George Landow, From Twenty Minutes into the Future: Or, How Are We Moving beyond the Book.
Wendy Lesser, The Conversion.
Toby Lester, New-Alphabet Disease?.
Malcolm X, Selection from Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Alberto Manguel, The Shape of the Book.
Herman Melville, Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street.
Melanie Stewart Millar, Filling the Void: Building the Hypermacho Man.
Janet H. Murray, From Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace.
Walter Ong, Writing Is A Technology that Restructures Thought.
John Opie and Charles Joseph Soulacrois, Three Images of Women and Reading (a collection of three paintings from the 18th and 19th century).
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, The Work of the Encyclopedia in an Age of Electronic Reproduction.
Ian Parker, Absolute Powerpoint.
Plato, From Phaedrus.
Ray Porter, Reading is Bad for your Health.
Reading Screens: Word Processing and Web Site Screen Shots (four images of computer screens presented as visual artifacts)
Howard Rheingold, Look Who's Talking.
Paul Roberts, Virtual Grub Street: Sorrows of a Multimedia Hack.
James Sosnoski, Hyper-Readers and Their Reading Engines.
Mitchell Stephens, Complex Seeing.
Selections from Sundiata.
Cass Sunstein, Fragmentation and Cybercascades.
Johannes Trithemius, Selections from In Praise of Scribes (De Laude Scriptorum).
Sherry Turkle, Virtuality and Its Discontents.
Mark Twain, My First Writing Machine.
Appendix: Topical and Historical Table of Contents.