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The Gutenberg Elegies

The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age

Sven Birkerts; With a New Introduction and Afterword

Faber & Faber

"[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

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The Gutenberg Elegies
PART IThe Reading Self1MahVuhHuhPuhIT WAS VIRGINIA WOOLF who started me thinking about thinking again, set me to weighing the relative merits of the abstract analytical mode against the attractions of a more oblique and subjective approach. The comparison was ventured for interest alone. Abstract analysis has been closed to me for some time—I find I can no longer chase the isolated hare. Problems and questions seem to come toward me in clusters. They appear inextricably imbedded in circumstance and I cannot pry them loose to think about them. Nor can I help factoring
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Sven Birkerts; With a New Introduction and Afterword

  • Sven Birkerts is an American essayist and literary critic of Latvian ancestry. He is best known for his book The Gutenberg Elegies, which posits a decline in reading due to the overwhelming advances of the Internet and other technologies of the "electronic culture."
  • Sven Birkerts Lise Haines
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Gutenberg Elegies

The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age

Sven Birkerts; With a New Introduction and Afterword

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Faber & Faber

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