Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Gutenberg Elegies

The Gutenberg Elegies

The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age

Sven Birkerts; With a New Introduction and Afterword

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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"[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

EXCERPT

The Gutenberg Elegies

PART I
The Reading Self
1
MahVuhHuhPuh
IT WAS VIRGINIA WOOLF who started me thinking about thinking again, set me to weighing the relative merits of the abstract analytical...

Reviews

Praise for The Gutenberg Elegies

“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

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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

Sven Birkerts

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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