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Rare Books in the Press: The Death of the Book

Rare Books in the Press: The Death of the Book

A article by Ben Ehrenreich in the Los Angeles Review of Books


“Pity the book.  It’s dead again.  Last I checked, Googling “death of the book” produced 11.8 million matches.  The day before it was 11.6 milion.  It’s getting unseemly.  Books were once such handsome things.  Suddenly they seem clunky,  heavy, almost fleshy in their gross materiality.  Their pages grow brittle.  Their ink fades.  Their spines collapse.  They are so pitiful, they might as well be human.”

The book is dead, murdered by the internet and buried with a Kindle on its coffin … Or not? The death of the book is not a modern phenomenon, says Ben Ehrenreich in the Los Angeles Review of Books: “Nor is it new to point out that people have been diagnosing - and celebrating - the book’s imminent demise for generations.” As early as 1913 a futurist manifesto demanded “a typographic revolution directed against the idiotic and nauseating concepts of the outdated and conventional book”. In the 1920s Bob Carlton thought of a reading machinge “to liberate words from the static confines of the page”. Derrida proclaimed the “end of the book”.

Ben Ehrenreich, professor at the University of California, Riverside,  has written an outstanding article about the apocalypse of the book through the centuries.

Read the whole article in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

>>> The Death of the Book, by Ben Ehrenreich

Published since 20 Apr 2011

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