Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A/V Texts: E-Reading with Music

Betsy Morais on The Atlantic's blog, offers some fascinating thoughts on the future of e-reading: add a soundtrack to your e-book.

For those of us interested in sacred texts, what would you pair with, say, the Rg Veda's opening chapters, Kojiki on the Sun Goddess, or the book of Revelation? (Of course, we know the Revelation one: "Ride of the Valkyries"!)

The final paragraph goes some way toward delineating the power of the medium on the message:

What plays on inside a reader's head might be the ultimate value of reading. In silence, the mind can parse through a phrase without distraction, and attention can be paid to meaning more than pace. As Blaise Pascal wrote in 1670, "The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room." Then again, a soundtrack that performs the words on the page might shut out the incessant whirring of the world to provide, for those who want it, a way of plugging yourself into a book.

Of course, it all reminds me too of Friedrich Kittler's Heidegger-inspired fear of everything being reduced to The Code...

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