Download A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital by Dennis Baron PDF

By Dennis Baron

Desktops, now the writer's device of selection, are nonetheless blamed by means of skeptics for numerous ills, from rushing writing as much as the purpose of recklessness, to complicating or trivializing the writing strategy, to destroying the English language itself.

</em>A greater Pencil</em> places our complicated, still-evolving hate-love dating with desktops and the net into viewpoint, describing how the electronic revolution affects our interpreting and writing practices, and the way the newest applied sciences fluctuate from what got here ahead of. The e-book explores our use of pcs as writing instruments in gentle of the background of conversation know-how, a background of the way we like, worry, and really use our writing technologies--not simply desktops, but additionally typewriters, pencils, and clay drugs. Dennis Baron exhibits that just about all writing implements--and even writing itself--were greeted initially with nervousness and outrage: the printing press disrupted the "almost religious connection" among the author and the web page; the typewriter was once "impersonal and noisy" and might "destroy the paintings of handwriting." either pencils and pcs have been created for initiatives that had not anything to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by way of woodworkers for marking up their forums, have been speedy repurposed via writers and artists. the pc crunched numbers, no longer phrases, until eventually writers observed it because the subsequent writing laptop. Baron additionally explores the hot genres that the pc has introduced: electronic mail, the moment message, the net web page, the web publication, social-networking pages like MySpace and fb, and communally-generated texts like Wikipedia and the city Dictionary, let alone YouTube.

Here then is an interesting background of our tangled dealings with quite a lot of writing tools, from historic papyrus to the trendy machine. With dozens of illustrations and lots of colourful anecdotes, the booklet will enthrall an individual drawn to language, literacy, or writing.

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Additional info for A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution

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And it is not just the writing of these books, but also the technology of their dissemination that can spark trouble. The machinery of publishing includes writing on clay, carving in stone, and copying manuscripts by hand onto paper, parchment, vellum, papyrus, bamboo, or silk. In the age of mechanical reproduction, the printing press, the typewriter, and the mimeograph reproduced reading matter in quantities that scribes could never match, and now, in the digital age, computers serve to compose and disseminate both wired and wireless text in ways that are revising the definitions of reader and writer.

I bowed and returned to my chair. (Kelly 1995) Sale’s concern about the biosphere didn’t stop him from exposing the Town Hall audience to the computer’s “poisonous insides,” but perhaps the most extreme reaction against computers has been that of Theodore Kaczynski. Over a period of eighteen years beginning in 1978, Kaczynski went after, not the offending machines themselves, but the people he held responsible for them, computer scientists and executives of the technology industry. Kaczynski mailed or planted sixteen bombs in his effort to turn the world away from technology, killing three people and injuring more than twenty others with his homemade devices.

So now it can be said: the humanities—and the arts—can be just as dangerous as cloning sheep or genetically altering corn. Books are technology, after 22 ■ A Better Pencil all, and sending them through the mail may not have the direct impact of sending bombs, but the written word has always had the power to anger people to the point where they act irrationally, even violently, banning or burning books, destroying entire libraries (the word for this, reflected in the title of a new book on the subject, is libricide), and physically attacking authors and readers.

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