Changing World of Words: Literature in the Digital Age
Turn wheresoever I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
Written in a different context by William Wordsworth, the lines echo the voice of not only one but hundreds of scholars who are lamenting on the demise of literature in the digital age. Digital literature, they aver, encourages academic dishonesty, copyright infringement, cyberplagiarism etc. Peruvian-Spanish novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of 2010 Nobel Prize for literature likes books printed on paper and worries that something precious may be lost in an age of ebooks and digitalization. In the 21st century the publishing industry is in distress. Publishing houses – among them Simon and Schuster, Macmillan, Harper Collins, Double Day are laying off staff left and right. Random house is in the midst of a drastic reorganization. Salaries are frozen across the country. Whispers of bankruptcy are fluttering around borders. We have the other side also. Literature interprets the world and we are living through one of the greatest economic and technological transformations. Digitalization has been a boon for scholars. Sure, the ideal will always be to see an original manuscript but that is not always possible and in these cases a digitalized (scanned) copy or e-lit will often do the job. A piece of literature which one does not get in hard copy can be obtained by him in soft copy in digital hyper textual world; and he may express his thrilled and ecstatic pleasure as Keats did in a different context: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
when a new planet swims into his ken;
or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the pacific…
So Digital literature increased interactivity, connectivity and access. This is an era of Hypertext, a text displayed on a computer or other electronic device with reference to...
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