Tag Archives: Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing’s Nobel speech: is the internet destroying reading?

Doris LessingDoris Lessing was unable to attend the ceremony where she was to be awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, but her editor delivered a speech on her behalf, which The Guardian has published in full (and is well worth the time to read). [Image from Wikipedia]

Nicholas Carr highlights the following passage, among others:

“What has happened to us is an amazing invention – computers and the internet and TV. It is a revolution. This is not the first revolution the human race has dealt with. The printing revolution, which did not take place in a matter of a few decades, but took much longer, transformed our minds and ways of thinking. A foolhardy lot, we accepted it all, as we always do, never asked: “What is going to happen to us now, with this invention of print?” In the same way, we never thought to ask, “How will our lives, our way of thinking, be changed by the internet, which has seduced a whole generation with its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that, once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging etc?” “

Mrs Lessing is hardly the first to raise this argument (or something similar), but her current position in the spotlight means that it once again becomes the topic du jour of bookish folk.

I think it’s reasonable of me to assume that Futurismic’s readership is fairly bookish, but it is also plain that they engage closely with the web as well. So what do you think of Lessing’s speech? I think we can all agree that the internet is a revolution, but is it the sort of revolution that burns the fields behind it?

[tags]literature, reading, internet, education, Doris Lessing[/tags]