Viewing all posts by Dale Lately

The End of the Word As We Know It: Reading in the Age of Distraction

A decade ago the web remained quarantined indoors, anchored to desktops by Ethernet umbilical cords, and a good novel could still help to pass the time on a heaving tube and or lonely bus. Now kids who sport web-enabled phones can never leave what Andrew Keen calls the ‘global dorm room’ – Facebook is the book they all read, the novel they’re all writing, and they rarely need to leave its realm any more. Read more →

The Tower of Babble: Borges’ Library and the Blogosphere

Seventy years ago the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) wrote "The Library of Babel", a short story about a cosmically vast library that contained all possible books — a whole universe based on the inconceivable number of permutations a length of text would allow, making possible not only all the books ever written, but all the ones that could be written. It was a richly imaginative idea in its day, but the metaphor of Borges’ Babel Library has, in the last decade, gained a relevance it could never hitherto possess. What expresses better our long slogs through the internet — the insipid pulse of Twittertopia, the unceasing verbal slurry of the blogosphere, and the multitude of social networks — than this Piranesian prism of senselessness: literature as chimera, jumbled apocrypha, and verbal ephemera? Read more →