The Passing. A metaphoric interpretation of the impermanence of the book
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This thesis contemplates a debate. In the 1990s and the early years of this century, a number of theorists, Kernan (1990), Birkerts (2006) and Young (2007) (building on Max Nordau’s fears expressed in 1895), argued that literature was dying and we were witnessing the death not only of the book but also of reading and then‘integrity’ of meaning. In response, this project engages the materiality of the printed book to creatively mourn its perceived passing. In this regard, the thesis considers the passing of the book as an obituary, eulogy, requiem and memorial. However, in doing this, the materiality of the printed book is renominated as an articulate mode of metaphoric expression. Rhetorically, its relevance is reasserted, not as bereavement but as an acknowledgement that the tactility of the book as an evolutionary phenomenon, can engage in unique ways with the construction and communication of meaning. The book’s impermanence is also its evolution.