By Dennis Baron

ISBN-10: 0195388445

ISBN-13: 9780195388442

Pcs, now the writer's software of selection, are nonetheless blamed by way of skeptics for numerous ills, from rushing writing as much as the purpose of recklessness, to complicating or trivializing the writing method, to destroying the English language itself.

</em>A higher Pencil</em> places our advanced, still-evolving hate-love dating with desktops and the net into point of view, describing how the electronic revolution affects our interpreting and writing practices, and the way the newest applied sciences fluctuate from what got here ahead of. The ebook explores our use of pcs as writing instruments in mild of the background of communique know-how, a heritage of ways we like, worry, and really use our writing technologies--not simply pcs, but additionally typewriters, pencils, and clay capsules. Dennis Baron exhibits that just about all writing implements--and even writing itself--were greeted in the beginning with anxiousness and outrage: the printing press disrupted the "almost non secular connection" among the author and the web page; the typewriter was once "impersonal and noisy" and may "destroy the artwork of handwriting." either pencils and pcs have been created for initiatives that had not anything to do with writing. Pencils, crafted by means of woodworkers for marking up their forums, have been fast repurposed by way of writers and artists. the pc crunched numbers, no longer phrases, till writers observed it because the subsequent writing computing device. Baron additionally explores the hot genres that the pc has introduced: e-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 engaging historical past of our tangled dealings with a variety of writing tools, from historical papyrus to the fashionable computing device. With dozens of illustrations and plenty of colourful anecdotes, the ebook will enthrall somebody attracted to language, literacy, or writing.

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

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Others, like Henderson, wax nostalgic for pencils, or see romance in the quill pen. Not too many people miss writing on clay tablets. Not all the old ways are good ways. The pencil may be old—the first pencils appeared in Europe in the sixteenth century—but like the computer today and the telegraph in 1849, the pencil is a communication technology. ” Samuel F. B. Morse, the developer of the telegraph, was lucky that Thoreau was no Ted Kaczynski. The only letter bombs Thoreau sent from his cabin 33 34 ■ A Better Pencil on Walden Pond were literary ones.

There were other graphite deposits around the world, but no other ore was as pure as Borrowdale’s. Impure graphite crumbled or produced a scratchy line. In the later eighteenth century, the Borrowdale graphite deposits began to run low, and exports were curtailed. After the French Revolution, with his supply of English graphite embargoed, the French pencil maker Nicholas-Jacques Conté learned to produce a workable writing medium by grinding domestic graphite, mixing it with clay and water, and forcing the mixture into wooden casings which were then baked to harden the lead (this account of pencil history draws largely on Petroski 1990).

And it is not just the writing of these books, but also the technology of their dissemination that can spark trouble. The machinery of publishing includes writing on clay, carving in stone, and copying manuscripts by hand onto paper, parchment, vellum, papyrus, bamboo, or silk. In the age of mechanical reproduction, the printing press, the typewriter, and the mimeograph reproduced reading matter in quantities that scribes could never match, and now, in the digital age, computers serve to compose and disseminate both wired and wireless text in ways that are revising the definitions of reader and writer.

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