Monthly Archives: December 2010

March of the Literature Luddites

March of the Literature Luddites

When the British textile artisans of the nineteenth century found their livelihoods threatened by the march of industrialization and technical innovation, they took to smashing mechanized looms in protest, and the first recognisable Luddite movement was born.

Although e-books are, by their very nature, a much trickier prospect to smash than looms, Ned Ludd would be proud to learn the Luddites have kept religiously in step with technology to this day, as amply attested by the wonderful Campaign for Real Books.

So was it religious restraint that kept the fifteenth century’s scriptorium monks from giving Gutenberg’s  printing press the Luddite treatment, or did they perhaps realise that innovation is an inevitable companion of progress, and as much God’s work as the carefully penned workmanship of their own hand?

The sentence, when done right, is greater than the whole

The sentence, when done right, is greater than the whole

Nestled in the depths of Julian Gough’s piece on the divine nature of comedy, is the following line which exudes so much gravity it’s in danger of putting the rest of his excellent article in the shade:

“The novel, when done right—when done to the best of the novelist’s abilities, talent at full stretch—is always greater than the novelist.