The Future of the Humanities: Reading
Author: Michael Dirda
Excerpt: Reading always seems to be in crisis. Two and half millennia ago, Socrates inveighed against the written word because it undermined memory and confused data with wisdom. When the codex—the bound book—appeared, some conservative Romans almost certainly went around complaining, ‘What was wrong with scrolls? They were good enough for Horace and Cicero.’ Gutenberg’s press gradually undercut the market for illuminated manuscripts. Aldus Manutius, inventor of the pocket-sized book, rendered huge folios a specialty item.
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