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Interfaces of the Word

Studies in the Evolution of Consciousness and Culture

by Walter J. Ong

Publication Year: 2012

In Interfaces of the World, Walter J. Ong explores the effects on consciousness of the word as it moves through oral to written to print and electronic culture.

Published by: Cornell University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 7-8

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pp. 9-14

The present volume carries forward work in two earlier volumes by the same author, The Presence of the Word (1967) and Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology (1971). The first of these describes and interprets the evolution of modes of thought and verbal expression from primary oral culture, before the invention of script, ...

Part I. Cleavage and Growth

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1. Transformations of the Word and Alienation

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pp. 17-50

Alienation, a favorite diagnosis variously applied to modem man's plight since at least Hegel and Feuerbach, has not been commonly thought of in terms of the technological history of the word, although some attention, more analytic than historical or clinical, has been given by structuralists to certain tensions attendant on writing.1 ...

Part II: The Sequestration of Voice

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2. The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction

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pp. 53-81

Although there is a large and growing literature on the differences between oral and written verbalization, many aspects of the differences have not been looked into at all, and many others, although well known, have not been examined in their full implications. ...

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3. Media Transformation: The Talked Book

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pp. 82-91

When you talk about the media today, one question constantly recurs: Do the new media wipe out the old? Or, more particularly, has television wiped out books? Since no moderately alert person who notices bookstalls or the habits of persons around him could possibly believe that books have disappeared, ...

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4. African Talking Drums and Oral Noetics

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pp. 92-120

The primary orality in which human thought and verbal expression is initially and fundamentally lodged undergoes other metamorphoses besides those which lead through writing and print to the electronic management of thought and expression. Most of these metamorphoses have not been studied in detail. ...

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5. "I See What You Say": Sense Analogues for Intellect

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pp. 121-144

Bernard Lonergan's philosophical investigations of man's noetic activities are among the richest investigations of this vast subject that we have. Together with other work of his, they have warranted the calling of an international congress devoted to the discussion of what he has had to say on this and other matters. ...

Part III: Closure and Print

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6. Typographic Rhapsody: Ravisius Textor, Zwinger, and Shakespeare

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pp. 147-188

Writing in Chapters in Western Civilization, Professor Paul Oskar Kristeller notes that "the frequency of quotations and of commonplaces repeated in the moral literature in the Renaissance gives to all but its very best products an air of triviality that is often very boring to the modem critical reader."1 ...

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7. From Epithet to Logic: Miltonic Epic and the Closure of Existence

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pp. 189-212

In 1672, two years before his death, John Milton published a logic textbook which he had written, it is quite certain, sometime in the years 1641-1647, and most probably sometime during the years 1645-1647, when he was teaching his two nephews and some other boys. ...

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8. The Poem as a Closed Field: The Once New Criticism and the Nature of Literature

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pp. 213-229

The new criticism and the poetry which arose with it deserve to be examined in fuller perspectives than those in which they have commonly been viewed. Both are still too often described largely as ad hoc reactions to what went immediately before. ...

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9. Maranatha: Death and Life in the Text of the Book

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pp. 230-271

The Bible is an altogether special case in the history of textuality.* In its own history as a text it relates uniquely both to oral antecedents and, interiorly, to itself. The unusual problems it presents throw light on textuality as such, and the study of orality and textuality throws light on the Bible ...

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10. From Mimesis to Irony: Writing and Print as Integuments of Voice

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pp. 272-302

The present study grew out of an assignment to consider the subject "Response to Vision: Judging the Value of Literary Content." This is a vast subject. In one or another guise, questions concerning the value of literary content have woven their way through most of twentieth-century Western poetics and literary theory, ...

Part IV: Present and Future

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11. Voice and the Opening of Closed Systems

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pp. 305-342

Studies in this book have treated the history of the word often, though not entirely, in tenus of sequestration, interposition, diaeresis or division, alienation, and closed fields or systems. The history of the word since its encounter and interaction with technology when the first writing systems were devised some six thousand years ago ...


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pp. 343-352

E-ISBN-13: 9780801466311
E-ISBN-10: 0801466318
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801492402
Print-ISBN-10: 0801492408

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1