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RLGC13H3 Lecture Notes - Print Culture

Course Code
David Perley

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September 25, 2012
RLGC13 Lecture 3
1. Writing and Written Culture
a. Words can be spoken or written
b. “Book” is affiliated with”written document” Bark/Papyrusbiblio
c. The idea of book is connected to writing and it tends to be a measure of civilization.
Why? Prestige and elite culture is often connected with writing
d. Classic Scholars even bought into the idea that a sophisticated culture or society has
written text
e. Example is Spangler 1928, word belongs to all of humanity but writing belongs to
the sophisticated
f. No text? = No culture!
g. We don’t want this to mean that oral traditions are simpler
h. We don’t want to say that literacy creates a different state of mind, it develops
capacities however something to revisit
2. Prehistory
a. Lack of evidence because there are no written records text is like a fossil
b. Written records ironically speak, otherwise history remains hypothetical
c. He does say there are counterexamples to this, Indus Valley
d. Mesopotamian Culture Epic of Gilgamesh
e. We’re concerned about “tribal feelings of pride”
f. Finally written records tell us how human beings acted in a certain period of time
3. Written Communication
a. Bring cultural change, for example, quantity of material can be better amassed in
written form than by memory
b. Change of audience, an aural audience is speaking to human beings, a written
audience the writer is now distant from the reader
c. Treatment of ideas classifying metaphor (using one way of thinking and
mapping it to another area)
d. Written communication is really an Aide-Mémoire
4. Oral Society
a. Transforms traditions by forgetting
b. Literate societies on the other hand, says that they cannot discard it power
c. Creates a necessary distance between the present people and the people of the past
that composed the piece of literature
d. Literacy results in new quantities, new kinds of texts, new perceptions, new uses of
i. Twitter
e. There are important continuities that exists between the oral and written traditions
5. Modern Culture
a. Protracted development-took a long time, gradual transition
i. He talks about the 7th century BCE of Greece, alphabetization vs. Egyptian
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