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

By Dennis Baron

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

A greater Pencil places our advanced, still-evolving hate-love courting with desktops and the net into point of view, describing how the electronic revolution impacts our studying and writing practices, and the way the newest applied sciences range from what got here earlier than. The booklet explores our use of desktops as writing instruments in mild of the historical past of communique know-how, a historical past of the way we adore, worry, and truly use our writing technologies--not simply desktops, but additionally typewriters, pencils, and clay drugs. Dennis Baron indicates that almost 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 artwork of handwriting." either pencils and desktops have been created for projects that had not anything to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by way of woodworkers for marking up their forums, have been fast repurposed through writers and artists. the pc crunched numbers, now not phrases, until eventually writers observed it because the subsequent writing laptop. Baron additionally explores the recent genres that the pc has introduced: electronic 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 background of our tangled dealings with quite a lot of writing tools, from historical papyrus to the fashionable desktop. With dozens of illustrations and plenty of colourful anecdotes, the e-book will enthrall somebody drawn to language, literacy, or writing.

Show description

By Dennis Baron

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

A greater Pencil places our advanced, still-evolving hate-love courting with desktops and the net into point of view, describing how the electronic revolution impacts our studying and writing practices, and the way the newest applied sciences range from what got here earlier than. The booklet explores our use of desktops as writing instruments in mild of the historical past of communique know-how, a historical past of the way we adore, worry, and truly use our writing technologies--not simply desktops, but additionally typewriters, pencils, and clay drugs. Dennis Baron indicates that almost 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 artwork of handwriting." either pencils and desktops have been created for projects that had not anything to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by way of woodworkers for marking up their forums, have been fast repurposed through writers and artists. the pc crunched numbers, now not phrases, until eventually writers observed it because the subsequent writing laptop. Baron additionally explores the recent genres that the pc has introduced: electronic 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 background of our tangled dealings with quite a lot of writing tools, from historical papyrus to the fashionable desktop. With dozens of illustrations and plenty of colourful anecdotes, the e-book will enthrall somebody drawn to language, literacy, or writing.

Show description

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

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In terms of my own lived experience, I have to admit that writing hasn’t presented itself that way at all. I’ve always had an almost moral suspicion of writing. Can you explain that, can you illustrate how you’ve approached writing? Once again, what interests me here is Michel Foucault when he’s writing. My answer may surprise you somewhat. I know how to conduct with myself—and I’m pleased to do so here with you—an exercise that is very di‡erent from what I’ve done with others. Whenever I’ve spoken about an author, I’ve always tried to ignore biographical factors and the social and cultural context, the field of knowledge in which the author was born and educated.

In any case, compared to the medical world in which I lived, I placed myself directly in a world of unreality, of appearances, of lies—you could almost call it a betrayal of trust—by devoting myself to writing and speculating about mental illness and medicine. I think I N T E R V I E W : F O U C A U LT A N D B O N N E F O Y that given the guilt I felt about writing, in my stubbornness to extinguish that guilt by continuing to write, there was always an element of this. I’m well aware that I shouldn’t be telling you these things; rather, I want to tell you these things, but I’m not certain they’re worth publishing.

And no doubt the devaluation I spoke of was the origin of The History of Madness. But, after all—and I apologize for choosing such an elevated example of such lofty patronage—we have known ever since Nietzsche that devaluation is an instrument of knowledge and that if we don’t shake up the customary order of hierarchies of value, the secrets of knowledge run no risk of being revealed. So, it’s possible that my contempt, this very archaic contempt, very infantile, I N T E R V I E W : F O U C A U LT A N D B O N N E F O Y and that further reflection quickly dissolved but could not entirely suppress, enabled me to discover a number of relations that I would otherwise probably have not seen.

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