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12 NOVEMBER 2012

A modern-day Luddite longing for the slow elegance of print culture

"Sven Birkerts, a modern–day Luddite, is feeling uneasy about all this rapid cultural change. He longs for the slow elegance of print culture. So much so, in fact, that the cover of his new book, [The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age], features a fuzzy caramel–colored snapshot of a naturally–lit library which houses the endangered species of digital modernity: a leather armchair draped with an afghan, droopy lace curtains, and shelves of softened leather hard–backs coveting thick yellowed pages and the tidy, immutable thoughts of yesterday's literary prophets.

Birkerts is terrified that his warm dusty paradise is being ransacked, and the remaining rubble is merely forgotten or misunderstood in a world distracted by garish, pulsing iconography."

(Amanda Griscom, 1996)

Amanda Scott Griscom (1996). "Trends of Anarchy and Hierarchy: Comparing the Cultural Repercussions of Print and Digital Media", Brown University.

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TAGS

1996 • Amanda Griscom • authentic cultural iconauthenticitybookcultural changecultural codescultural materialismdesign essentialism • digital modernity • electronic ageend of print • garish • hardback • hardbound • hardcover • humanisation of technologyludditenatural • Ned Ludd • nostalgianostalgic yearningobsolescence • print culture • readingromanticism • Sven Birkerts • The Gutenberg Elegies • tradition

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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