The Future of Literature in the Age of Technology Essay

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The Future of Literature in the Age of Technology

Bolstered by the recent advancements in technology, our society has gradually departed from the culture of the printed word to a computer culture structured by the digital word. Everyday the superior performance of computers appears to render printed literature more obsolete - e-mail and chat rooms have nearly eliminated traditional written letters, the Internet has all but replaced the need for libraries and paper catalogues and, soon, hypertext will completely overtake the realm of the printed novel. Computers have saturated our literary environment to such a degree that it is difficult to imagine a time when print was our most prized communication technology. To make an accurate
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These oral narratives rarely, if ever, reflected on the past as the content of a story; topics were limited to a discussion of the present and held little meaning beyond the physical objects or situations familiar to the audience. Once a certain set of ideas or practices became obsolete, they were excluded from the experiences enacted in a story, and all traces of their existence vanished from the culture. In this way, a community established common memories of the past, "providing all members of the community with the same point of reference" (Hobart and Schiffman 27).

The only system of writing at this time was a clumsy syllabic notation used for record keeping, so all anecdotes, thoughts, and comments had to be delivered face-to-face. For people of the oral culture, these stories were an event, uniting the speaker and his or her listeners by the experience of narrative. According to classicist scholar Eric A. Havelock, the bard used active verbs and concrete nouns, "to sweep the audience up into the rhythm of the song" (Hobart and Schiffman 20). Once the audience was absorbed in the sentiments of the story, they "became" the heroes, identifying uncritically with the plight of the fictional characters in scene after scene.

The emotional style of communication made it impossible for someone in the oral culture to distance him or herself rationally from the message of a story. "For us," say authors Hobart