“Who remembers Paul’s tweet to the Romans?”

January 13, 2010

It’s just such a brilliant question about technology, human communication and history, that I had to make it into it’s own post.

In response to this post about Edith Wharton’s extensive writings and what she’d have done today with e-mail, Mark posted the comment:

Who remembers Paul’s tweet to the Romans?

Helluva question.  What does your Sunday school class say?  What does your literature professor say?  What does your history teacher say?  Send ’em a tweet and see.

Mark also posts occasionally at The Divine Afflatus.


Edith Wharton on Facebook: What a horrible thought!

January 3, 2010

Nancy Sharon Colllins, reporting after her recent work at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, including reading some original letters and other writings of Edith Wharton, wonders what would be the effect on history and literary studies, had Edith Wharton used Facebook instead of keeping her journal and writing copious numbers of letters.

And that got me thinking: What if Edith Wharton had Facebooked? Had she lived in our time and communicated digitally, I wonder what her literature would be like. Looking at five days of cursive writing and personal letters made me realize that her compulsion to jot down her thoughts was no different than ours today when we tweet about what we had for lunch or share some fab link we just discovered. The difference between a letter written longhand and a Facebook post is that one takes a little bit longer (and leaves a more lasting trace), but the purpose is the same. Whether we live on a grand, Whartonian scale or a quieter, more ordinary one, we feel more significant when we share intimacies about ourselves with others.

There’s a good warm-up and/or journaling exercise in there for literature teachers.


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