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Download e-book for kindle: Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age by Laura Mandell

By Laura Mandell

ISBN-10: 1118274555

ISBN-13: 9781118274552

Breaking the Book is a manifesto at the cognitive effects and emotional results of human interactions with actual books that unearths why the conventional humanities disciplines are immune to 'digital' humanities.

  • Explores the explanations why the conventional humanities disciplines are immune to 'digital humanities'
  • Reveals points of ebook background, supplying it as an instance of the way diverse media form our modes of considering and feeling   
  • Gathers jointly crucial e-book background and literary feedback about the hundred years best as much as the early 19th-century emergence of mass print culture
  • Predicts results of the electronic revolution on disciplinarity, services, and the institutional restructuring of the humanities

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Extra resources for Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age

Sample text

Books provide a place where one can in fact assume the “Authority to establish the precise signification of Words” that Locke longs for here by carefully defining the meaning of words. To Locke and subsequent Enlightement thinkers, the only place where a clarifying, defining, rational, and sane Authority can be established is books, for two reasons. First, authority requires reach. Whereas writing in a notebook or manuscript that circulates among a select few can show others one’s thinking, only the wider circulation of print could impose Authority over usage—that is, upon thinking in general.

Why is it a problem? That is, what is at stake for Swift in ironizing that mission of clearing up ordinary confusions? Or, what can he see from his perspective, when this mission is emerging, that could not be seen quite as easily from within the mass print culture that emerged about 1800 (Smith 1984: 161–2; Franta 2007), if anything? Shamelessly copying Friedrich Kittler, I will now look at three different medial ecologies: 1700, 2000, and 1800, in that order. I will ask in examining each medial economy what is made of the fantasy that I have just described, that, given a properly educated 29 Breaking the Book populace, the mass-printed book could in fact have legislative authority over common usage, that we can change language by clearing up its confusions.

When Burke writes his Reflections on the Revolution in France in November of 1789, almost a half-century later, he again values these customary forms—so much so that he himself uses them in writing for print distribution his Reflections instead of the “polished” literary language of his day (Smith 1984: 36–9). Burke believes in what J. G. A. Pocock has called “the common-law mind,” that traditions are like the thoughts of a huge, eternal, collective mind. When he speaks of the constitution of England, his foes mocking him by asking him to produce such a document, he is really talking about the constitution of an organism, his country as a living culture.

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Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age by Laura Mandell


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