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Orality and Literacy (New Accents) Paperback – October 1, 1982

ISBN-13: 978-0415027960 ISBN-10: 0415027969 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Series: New Accents
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New edition edition (October 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415027969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415027960
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lynne Pearce is Professor in Literary Theory and Women's Writing at the University of Lancaster. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This where the some of the most interesting content of the book lies.
Kyle Whitefeather
It is a good introduction to this academic area as the author surveys the existing research and catalogs his sources very thoroughly.
Susan R. Grant
Then he discusses the shift to literacy, and how it affected identity as well.
steve

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Susan R. Grant on January 30, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Orality and Literacy" is a scholarly work, which is the author's intent. Because of this, it requires a college level reading ability. With those warnings in mind, it is also a fascinating book on a somewhat remote subject: the way that our ability to write has changed our ways of thinking about ourselves and the world, our ways of remembering, and the progress of human development. It is a good introduction to this academic area as the author surveys the existing research and catalogs his sources very thoroughly. He gives particular attention to how oral cultures deal with thinking, remembering, and relating to the community in fundamentally different ways than literate cultures do. As a teacher, I found myself wondering if we could learn from oral cultures some of the old ways of relating to and remembering what we hear. Our literacy has allowed us to abandon these narrative and remembering techniques- to our impoverishment, I suspect.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By steve on January 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I recently became interested in media in their own right. I tried reading McLuhan, but found him to be dazzling and frustrating - he would drop these little sound bites and then move on. I wanted a more in depth exploration of media.
McLuhan brought to my attention how media are not just passive carriers of content, but powerfully shape and influence it. Even more startling, he stated that media shape consciousness itself - they change the very people who use it. The tail wags the dog.
McLuhan's probes have their strength in galvanizing thought, not in the patient, careful arguing of a point. It's in this context I found Ong exactly what I was hoping/looking for. He tries to evoke an understanding of what is what like to live in a culture that had never known writing. He discusses how this affects each aspect of life, how it structures personality and identity, community, etc. (Not surprisingly, Ong was a student of McLuhan.)Then he discusses the shift to literacy, and how it affected identity as well.
I am used to academics writing in such a dense, convoluted style. Happily, this was completely absent from Ong's style. He manages to drop little insights about without belaboring them.
The great thing about a book like this for me - a layman - is that he manages to comment on apparently trivial, mundane features of daily life like calendars, lists, clocks, title pages in books - and show how they really manifest these huge, typically invisible trends in the changing of how we think about life and ourselves.
I loved this book - I will certainly read his earlier articles, since Orality and Literacy is mostly a summing of all prior research (as of 1982).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Whitefeather on October 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Imagine a world that does not use print. You cannot. We simply use typography and chirography so much, it makes such a task pretty tough. However, Ong does an excellent job of making that task easier. In "Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word", Ong covers fundamental differences between oral and literate cultures, comparing and contrasting both to explain how previous stages of literacy, or non-literacy, have gotten us to our current mode of thought. Although this book was written in 1982, it still has heavy cultural relevance; maybe even more-so with the development of technology.

Finding his point is sometimes difficult. Ong's writing is highly academic, and it can be tough to understand what he is actually trying to say at times. Sentences can go on for paragraphs, and overuses of 'that' and other pro-nouns are abundant, and can thoroughly confuse the reader. Besides for the writing style, when you actually grasp a concept, the contextual information provided surly reinforces the idea.

Ong's main objective is to prove there is a difference in the way literate and non-literate people process and remember information, mainly in their environment. He does this with very strong logical arguments and well-studied information. One of the most interesting idea this book presents, is the idea of literacy turning people inward on themselves.

Even though this book was initially released before the massive expansion of the internet, this topic is almost more relevant now than it was at that time. Nearly everyone today has some sort of electronic media using 'print'(facebook, myspace) that makes any information you receive completely internalized.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By steve on January 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I recently became interested in media in their own right. I tried reading McLuhan, but found him to be dazzling and frustrating - he would drop these little sound bites and then move on. I wanted a more in depth exploration of media.
McLuhan brought to my attention how media are not just passive carriers of content, but powerfully shape and influence it. Even more startling, he stated that media shape consciousness itself - they change the very people who use it. The tail wags the dog.
McLuhan's probes have their strength in galvanizing thought, not in the patient, careful arguing of a point. It's in this context I found Ong exactly what I was hoping/looking for. He tries to evoke an understanding of what is what like to live in a culture that had never known writing. He discusses how this affects each aspect of life, how it structures personality and identity, community, etc. (Not surprisingly, Ong was a student of McLuhan.)Then he discusses the shift to literacy, and how it affected identity as well.
I am used to academics writing in such a dense, convoluted style. Happily, this was completely absent from Ong's style. He manages to drop little insights about without belaboring them.
The great thing about a book like this for me - a layman - is that he manages to comment on apparently trivial, mundane features of daily life like calendars, lists, clocks, title pages in books - and show how they really manifest these huge, typically invisible trends in the changing of how we think about life and ourselves.
I loved this book - I will certainly read his earlier articles, since Orality and Literacy is mostly a summing of all prior research (as of 1982).
Read more ›
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