Better Pencil Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution

ISBN-10: 0199914001

ISBN-13: 9780199914005

Edition: 2012

Authors: Dennis Baron

List price: $20.95
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Description:

Computers, now the writer's tool of choice, are still blamed by skeptics for a variety of ills, from speeding writing up to the point of recklessness, to complicating or trivializing the writing process, to destroying the English language itself.A Better Pencilputs our complex, still-evolving hate-love relationship with computers and the internet into perspective, describing how the digital revolution influences our reading and writing practices, and how the latest technologies differ from what came before. The book explores our use of computers as writing tools in light of the history of communication technology, a history of how we love, fear, and actually use our writing technologies--not just computers, but also typewriters, pencils, and clay tablets. Dennis Baron shows that virtually all writing implements--and even writing itself--were greeted at first with anxiety and outrage: the printing press disrupted the "almost spiritual connection" between the writer and the page; the typewriter was "impersonal and noisy" and would "destroy the art of handwriting." Both pencils and computers were created for tasks that had nothing to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by woodworkers for marking up their boards, were quickly repurposed by writers and artists. The computer crunched numbers, not words, until writers saw it as the next writing machine. Baron also explores the new genres that the computer has launched: email, the instant message, the web page, the blog, social-networking pages like MySpace and Facebook, and communally-generated texts like Wikipedia and the Urban Dictionary, not to mention YouTube.Here then is a fascinating history of our tangled dealings with a wide range of writing instruments, from ancient papyrus to the modern laptop. With dozens of illustrations and many colorful anecdotes, the book will enthrall anyone interested in language, literacy, or writing.
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Book details

List price: $20.95
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 280
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.034

Preface: Technologies of the Word
Writing It Down
TeknoFear
Thoreau's Pencil
National Handwriting Day
Writing on Clay
When WordStar Was King
Trusting the Text
Writing on Screen
Everyone's an Author
A Space of One's Own
The Dark Side of the Web
From Pencils to Pixels
Works Cited
Index
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