- Pressman argues that the aesthetic of the book is under attack but that it is the very aesthetic that will keep the book alive. In a world gone digital where information has largely become disembodied, meaning that information lives invisibly and spreads virally, the book, instead of becoming obsolete, actually serves as a safe haven for information, particularly literature. The basic nature of the novel is newness. This newness, coupled with the safe structure of the book, will allow the book to remain relevant and be a place where readers can interpret and analyze information and literature.
- The novel is the genre and location for this fight because “the genre of the novel remains novel only by constantly innovating in relation to its contemporary environment of popular culture and media” (466). The book has become just another medium for information, which has narrowed its focus to literature. This association with literature, while seemingly indicating a decline in the book, is actually beneficial for both literature and the book. This point is important because the newness of the novel genre and the durability of the physical book are the best defense.
No matter how disembodied information becomes, physical ink on paper in the form of a book preserves and shelters information. It prevents informational loss caused by “the transcendental discourse network 2000” (475). It is important for everyone, but especially for us as English majors, because books allow for a different type of analysis and interpretation that is not possible with disembodied information.
The fear of memory loss is grounded in the fear of machine data loss. This relationship between human and machine is important to understand because our culture has conjoined the two. The book separates the two by containing information on the page that cannot simply disappear the way digital information can.
3. On 467, Pressman writes that “the book as a reading technology is shifting from being the central format for accessing knowledge to being one medium among many.” Wouldn’t the oral be the central format for accessing knowledge?
Pressman seems to conclude her argument by saying that we’ll always need books because literature is a space for aesthetic expression and cultural critique. I’m confused because this aspect of her argument creates an invisible place of creativity when it seems that much of her earlier statements were based on the fact that books are a physical shelter.
4. Is this fight between bookishness and the digital world one that is meant to/can be won by either side? She says that books will always have their place, so isn’t the fight already over? Or rather is the fight between books and the perceived superiority of the digital?