The Electronic Word: Democracy, Technology, and the Arts

By Richard A. Lanham

The computer has revolutionized communique, and digitized textual content has brought a notably new medium of expression. Interactive, unstable, blending notice and snapshot, the digital notice demanding situations our assumptions concerning the form of tradition itself.

This hugely acclaimed number of Richard Lanham's witty, provocative, and interesting essays surveys the consequences of digital textual content at the arts and letters. Lanham explores how digital textual content fulfills the expressive schedule of twentieth-century visible artwork and song, revolutionizes the curriculum, democratizes the tools of paintings, and poses anew the cultural responsibility of humanism itself.

Persuading us with unusual grace and tool that the circulate from e-book to display supplies reason for optimism, no longer melancholy, Lanham pronounces that "electronic expression has come to not smash the Western arts yet to meet them."

The digital Word is usually to be had as a Chicago multiplied publication in your Macintosh®. This hypertext version permits readers to maneuver freely throughout the textual content, marking "pages," annotating passages, looking out phrases and words, and instantly having access to annotations, that have been superior for this version. In a different prefatory essay, Lanham introduces the gains of this digital variation and offers a vividly utilized critique of this dynamic new edition.

Please word: The electronic version doesn't comprise 2 of the 6 pictures that seem within the actual edition.

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Rhetoricians, like every humanists, harbor a integrated prejudice opposed to what Rudolf Arnheim known as "visual thinking," however it cannot final for much longer: "In order to judge the real position of language extra accurately it kind of feels to me essential to realize that it serves as a trifling auxiliary to the first cars o{thought, that are so immensely larger outfitted to symbolize proper gadgets and family members by way of articulate form. The functionality of language seventy six TWENTY YEARS AFTER is basically conservative and stabilizing, and for that reason it additionally has a tendency, negatively, to make cognition static and motionless. "71 The digitization now universal to letters and shapes creates a combined textual content of icons and phrases during which "static and motionless" and dynamically cellular cognitive types toggle backward and forward right into a new bi-stable expressivity. Texts have lengthy had illustrations, to make certain, yet that dating used to be mounted, and it seldom preferred the illustrations and continuously secure the normal self-denials of prose expressivity. we've to do with a dating, either extra balanced and greatly dynamic, among other kinds of sign. Susanne Langer under pressure their distinction some time past: visible forms-lines, shades, proportions, and so forth. -are simply as in a position to articulation, i. e. of complicated mixture, as phrases. however the legislation that govern this type of articulation are altogether various from the legislation of syntax that govern language. the main radical distinction is that visualfOrms are usually not discursive. they don't current their materials successively, yet concurrently, so the family members identifying a visible constitution are grasped in a single act of imaginative and prescient. Their complexity, as a result, isn't really constrained, because the complexity of discourse is proscribed, through what the brain can maintain from the start of an apperceptive act to the top of it. seventy two As readers, we need to learn how to trade among those types ofsyntax, verbal and visible. Ifwe upload to this binary growth the sound and colour quickly turning into a part of the combination, we will be able to envision how rhetorical perform will literalize all its visible metaphors-beginning, one may imagine, with the "colors" of rhetoric. And if voice and musical sampling are extra to the palette, we take yet one more step again towards the complete variety of oral expressivity. we will locate, because the icon/alphabet ratio is still redefined, all types of different kinships with that previous time while rhetoric was once narrowing its expressive repertoire to deal with writing's narrowed and deliberately self-denying expressive variety. we have now spotted past how rhetorical thought has been used to interpret the visible arts. but when Baxandall's examine of Giotto and the Orators73 exhibits that Charles Jencks is doing not anything greatly new in describing postmodern structure by way of rhetorical figures, digitization does introduce anything new. As I argue in bankruptcy I, for the 1st time the humanities, via their universal digitization, became at once interchangeable. we will be able to convert sound signs into visible ones and vice versa.

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