One has to wonder if some of the great writers and poets of the past had been given access to the internet and other means of communication - would the great works they created have come into existence?
Or would they have been so concerned and disheartened about ratings, search engines, etc. or reading their emails and text messages that they would have given up and never written anything.
This would (surely) never have rated with Google would it -
"You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house-, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,-
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,
gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows?
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening...
You Who Never Arrived."
(by Rainer Maria Rilke as translated by Stephen Mitchell)
Copied from Wikiquote.
Now when no one is ever out of 'touch/ability to communicate' with each other, when more is said than possibly ever before- are we not in danger of losing something that inspires.
Very few were ever published and the passage of time sorted that out. Maybe they will invent computers to sort out the masses of material that
is now on web.
I was reading a book and it was talking about how certain authors writing styles changed with the advent of the typewriter. So, writing does change with the technology...and not always for the better.
But, writers have always had critics and nay sayers. They just had to learn to ignore them. I think some of the more sensitive might have stopped writing.
By the way, you should check out The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, it is great reading.
" “We don’t see the forest when we search the Web,” he writes. “We don’t even see the trees. We see twigs and leaves.”"
The complaints lodged in the book I would not lay at the feet of the web. It is how people use their
minds. If they don't see the trees they wouldn't anyway, with or without the net.
Thank you Uninvited Writer and knolyourself, I will take a look at the book you mention. I suppose the invention of the typewriter did change the way writers created their works, as would the invention of the printing press.
I think that I am beginning to feel rather old fashioned in my attitudes to these things. In some ways the internet has opened up the 'doors' for writing but in other ways the words of writers could be lost and the quality being lost and sacrificed to the quantity.
Thanks again for the book suggestion.
I think the Internet has definitely changed the way people read. They tend to just skim articles, so I've heard. I find myself doing that on occasion too.
While this may be the case, I think it's also helped in many ways as well. I see more people reading now versus ten years ago. Books are available almost everywhere you go - not all of them are great. Products like the Kindle or the Nook make it easy to read anywhere you are. People are less likely to skim through e-books like they do other online articles.
The internet also allows people to share works with others - which wasn't always historically possible.
As far as the "times" changing the way people write, that's always been the case. Go back 100 years and things will read differently from the way they do now. As technology progresses, so does writing.
There will always be great writers, no matter what technology brings.. just as there will always be people who desire to read what the authors write.
I have no doubt that the advancement of technology in itself has hurt the writing world as children who have grown on the internet and who are out future-don't know how to communicate properly. Plus, it is much harder to avoid getting plagerized on the internet. Add to the fact that the kindle books -and this is true of all art forms as well like musicians-where the availability of e-books online music etc. for amounts like .99 mean that other artists have no choice but to follow suit.
As for classic poetry-no doubt the search engines would ignore it. I know from my numbers and that of other creative writers on this site, that creative writing online not pay your bills. You get paid by the ad click, and people don't click on ads for creative writing.
Haven't watched Ken Burns all that much but his Civil War was taken from letters written by the participants. For me this meant that these farmers
could write then better than almost all professional writers of today. Probably was only reading, writing and arithmetic. But it was an educational system.
Poetry changes when online. It's hard to create the mood for the reader. I prefer reading poetry from a book and don't publish my poetry online for that reason. I have included a couple here at HP, but mostly for portfolio purposes. And I don't want my poetry copied.
Ranier is one of my favorites. I love the poem you posted. He has definitely influenced how I write. Have you read his book, Letters To A Young Poet? It is so inspiring for anyone who writes poetry.
one of his quotes from the book, which I have copied in my writing journal;
I know of no other advice than this: go within and scale the depths of your being from which your very life force springs forth.
I can't compose poetry on a computer. It has to be very quiet, pen or pencil in hand, and a blank sheet of paper. Ha, although once I was in the bath and I had to use an eyebrow pencil and write on a how-to apply eye pencil pamphlet!
It might just be me but I don't think an artist creates his or her art to reach audiences, therefore the way the Internet works hardly changes anything. Of course there is the sphere of popular culture, but it is not art.
Thank you all for your sharing your thoughts on this.
rebekahELLE - I will take a look at the book you mention, thank you.
Great writers of the past wrote to satisfy themselves and potentially a small audience of like-minded people.
I think they would not have been too worried about pleasing an Internet audience. The Internet caters to wants of the dregs of humanity, the stupid, that great unwashed mass that prefers video and cartoons to words because these set a far smaller challenge to the few brain cells they possess.
In my mind, art and culture survives despite the Internet, not because of it. Writing for the Internet, it is necessary to sacrifice any trace of discernment or discrimination one may wish to have.
You don't believe me? Take a quick look at the mind-numbing, incorrect dross that is being posted on Yahoo Answers, eHow and About.com - this is the drek that comes to the top of most searches.
I think the Kindle apps are genius. People who normally wouldn't read a 'book' book are reading books on their phones.
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