A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital - download pdf or read online

By Dennis Baron

ISBN-10: 0195388445

ISBN-13: 9780195388442

Pcs, now the writer's instrument of selection, are nonetheless blamed by way of skeptics for quite a few ills, from dashing writing as much as the purpose of recklessness, to complicating or trivializing the writing procedure, to destroying the English language itself.

</em>A greater Pencil</em> places our complicated, still-evolving hate-love dating with desktops and the web into point of view, describing how the electronic revolution impacts our interpreting and writing practices, and the way the newest applied sciences range from what got here prior to. The ebook explores our use of pcs as writing instruments in gentle of the heritage of conversation expertise, a historical past of ways we adore, worry, and really use our writing technologies--not simply desktops, but in addition typewriters, pencils, and clay capsules. 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 non secular connection" among the author and the web page; the typewriter used to be "impersonal and noisy" and might "destroy the paintings of handwriting." either pencils and desktops have been created for projects that had not anything to do with writing. Pencils, crafted via woodworkers for marking up their forums, have been speedy repurposed by way of writers and artists. the pc crunched numbers, now not phrases, till writers observed it because the subsequent writing desktop. Baron additionally explores the recent genres that the pc has introduced: e mail, the moment message, the net web page, the weblog, 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 historical past of our tangled dealings with a variety of writing tools, from historical papyrus to the fashionable computing device. With dozens of illustrations and lots of colourful anecdotes, the publication will enthrall someone attracted 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 more to the point, although Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein by hand, and Ted Kaczynski wrote his ramblings by hand as well, the impact of these two undeniably technological artifacts has been different. Frankenstein TeknoFear ■ 31 became a cultural emblem while “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the actual title of the Unabomber Manifesto, is destined to be little more than a footnote in Kaczynski’s brief reign of terror. And despite the fact that computers and other new communication technologies are dramatically changing the ways we do things with words, from the early experiments in computer-generated poetry to the emails, blogs, and instant messages that pervade our personal and professional lives, digital machines have not yet produced anything that remotely resembles Frankentext.

As it turned out, while antediluvian Luddites may have gone around smashing wheels the same way that nineteenth-century Luddites smashed looms or twentieth-century ones attacked computers, it eventually became apparent that the wheel was not going to go away, and today the wheel ranks alongside writing and the silicon chip as one of the most important human achievements of all time. As it was with the wheel, once writing came on the scene, there was no turning back. Trust in writing grew slowly, as people gradually saw how reducing Writing It Down ■ 13 The oldest known wooden wheel, discovered in the Ljubljana Marshes of Slovenia in 2002, was built more than 5,100 years ago out of two radial boards of ash wood, 72 cm.

Writing is much newer, a mere six thousand years old, give or take. In that sliver of geological time, we have gone from thinking of writing as a novelty, or something to be regarded with suspicion, to valuing it in many cases more than speech. While a few enthusiasts and visionaries surely saw the potential of a technology like writing when it consisted of just a few symbols scratched into clay or painted on a wall, it’s equally likely that some people feared and rejected this new form of communication.

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

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