The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization
The Written World by Martin Puchner is about how stories, inventions, and innovative authors have shaped our civilized world. Alexander the Great and Ashurbanipal both used earlier epics to legitimize and pattern their empires. Ezra elevated the written word above oral tradition. The disciples of Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, and Jesus founded social and spiritual religions on written testimony of teachings. The Tale of the Genji, A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, Don Quixote, and The Popol Vuh each gave their culture exposure and significance and, more importantly, expanded human culture in additional directions. Gutenberg facilitated the spread of literature. Marx used the printed word to inform his audience, a device used most effectively by Benjamin Franklin. Later writers would build on these foundations. The latest revolution, electronic publishing and instant access, promises to allow world literature the ability to change us even more than before. Puchner details these ideas, showing how each contributed to our enormous wealth of experience, adventure, and wonder. The author has excellent prose, explains his points masterfully, and illustrates them with well-researched examples and history. The sections are interesting without being boring. He has extensive footnotes. This is a scholar’s work and, at the same time, is very readable and interesting. I recommend it to anyone who reads.
|Page Count||448 pages|
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