Thursday, February 24, 2011

Machines for thinking with

A good piece by Paul Deguid at the TLS on recent books about the fate of the book, including one by Jacques Bonnet that sounds highly worthwhile:
Peter Stallybrass argues that the codex is best suited for random access, allowing readers to dive in at any point in the text. If so, it is ideal for reference books and those nineteenth-century collections of government statistics, but curiously unsuited to the novel, where the scroll more easily lets a tale unfold. Indeed, praise for “page turners” almost suggests a triumph over readers’ resistance to turning the page. The digital world offers to take us back to scrolling – though uncertainty remains. Google books scroll. Scholarly resources such as JSTOR or ProQuest’s “Early English Books Online” turn. New reading devices (such as the Kindle, iPad and Nook) and new apps (iBooks, GoodReader, Stanza) seem uncertain about the page.

1 comment:

  1. Visiting the Morgan made me feel uncharacteristically dour/Ludditely/Benjaministic about the consequences of digital books - and then the Abstract Expressionism exhibit enhanced the feeling in terms of digital culture generally... It is much more cheerful to be my usual "it will all work itself out" self.