Here’s the first in a three part series from The Boston Globe about the evolution of text, from illuminated manuscripts to the latest thriller on a Nook Color. Part one imagines what the reading experience was like in previous eras, to set the stage for a forthcoming discussion of digital publishing and the modern reading experience; expect a comparison of attention spans then and now, as well as questions about how meaningful any modern work can be if people no longer treat reading as a contemplative event (assuming that’s the case).

As the screen overtakes the solid page, and the ground floors of libraries have begun to look like the decks of starships, and the page has become its own lamp, as millions of books become available at the click of a key, and a simple search will turn up almost anything one needs to recall, surely the memory of what is read is dissolving all that much faster.

Read all of part one, “Illuminating texts”, at the Boston Globe.

Via Library Stuff

(Photo: Beinecke Library)


  1. I would have read that article if they had not made it so difficult to read (from what I could see, no single page version)

  2. Having read the first part, I won’t be sticking around for the rest of it. Romanticism so filled with sap that I had to fight off flies to get through it.

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