[Humanist] 28.385 the fate of correspondence?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Oct 10 07:24:29 CEST 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 385.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:21:02 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: not Humanist's style

See http://five.sentenc.es/ and its less loquatious relations noted on that page. I have two reactions and wonder about yours, here invited.

The first is in turn fervently to hope for two alterations in communications by e-mail: messages that are actually composed to be read and understood by those with whom the sender is communicating, i.e. formatted with care and some sense of design; and much briefer e-mail signatures that are not CVs struggling to be born.

The second is to wonder about the current state of correspondence, i.e. the degree to which it has been twitterified and facebooked. The medium does not prevent one from writing thoughtful letters at length, but does it encourage somehow bursts of utterances that would never survive thoughtful consideration? Or, looking ahead, is there evidence that sustained reading is actually more difficult on screen than on paper? I still, despite the Retina Display, print out anything I need to read closely and carefully. In some respects books are easier to consult, for me principally because they are easier to find, in digital form, but any book I love and respect I buy in print. (And then sometimes cannot find because the Poltergeist of codices runs away with them when I am not looking.)

Anyhow, http://five.sentenc.es/ is not Humanist's style. Might that have contributed to its longevity?

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
Group, University of Western Sydney

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