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Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word

Original price $82.80 - Original price $82.80
Original price
$82.80 - $82.80
Current price $82.80

Walter J. Ong
Paperback, 264 pages
30th Anniversary Edition


Walter J. Ong’s classic work provides a fascinating insight into the social effects of oral, written, printed and electronic technologies, and their impact on philosophical, theological, scientific and literary thought.


This thirtieth anniversary edition – coinciding with Ong’s centenary year – reproduces his best-known and most influential book in full and brings it up to date with two new exploratory essays by cultural writer and critic John Hartley.


- John Hartley: Before Ongism: "To become what we want to be, we have to decide what we were"
- Orality & Literacy: The Technologization Of The Word
- Part 1: The orality of language
1. The literate mind and the oral past
2. Did you say ‘oral literature’?
- Part 2: The modern discovery of primary oral cultures
1. Early awareness of oral tradition
2. The Homeric question
3. Milman Parry’s discovery
4. Consequent and related work
- Part 3: Some psychodynamics of orality
1. Sounded word as power and action
2. You know what you can recall: mnemonics and formulas
3. Further characteristics of orally based thought and expression
4. Additive rather than subordinative
5. Aggregative rather than analytic
6. Redundant or ‘copious’
7. Conservative or traditionalist
8. Close to the human lifeworld
9. Agonistically toned
10. Empathetic and participatory rather than objectively distanced
11. Homeostatic
12. Situational rather than abstract
13. Oral memorization
14. Verbomotor lifestyle
15. The noetic role of heroic ‘heavy’ figures and of the bizarre
16. The interiority of sound
17. Orality, community and the sacral
18. Words are not signs
- Part 4: Writing restructures consciousness
1. The new world of autonomous discourse
2. Plato, writing and computers
3. Writing is a technology
4. What is ‘writing’ or ‘script’?
5. Many scripts but only one alphabet
6. The onset of literacy
7. From memory to written records
8. Some dynamics of textuality
9. Distance, precision, grapholects and magnavocabularies
10. Interactions: rhetoric and the places
11. Interactions: learned languages
12. Tenaciousness of orality
- Part 5: Print, space and closure
1. Hearing-dominance yields to sight-dominance
2. Space and meaning
3. Indexes
4. Books, contents and labels
5. Meaningful surface
6. Typographic space
7. More diffuse effects
8. Print and closure: intertextuality
9. Post-typography: electronics
- Part 6: Oral memory, the story line and characterization
1. The primacy of the story line
2. Narrative and oral cultures
3. Oral memory and the story line
4. Closure of plot: travelogue to detective story
5. The ‘round’ character, writing and print
- Part 7: Some theorems
1. Literary history
2. New Criticism and Formalism
3. Structuralism
4. Textualists and deconstructionists
5. Speech-act and reader-response theory
6. Social sciences, philosophy, biblical studies
7. Orality, writing and being human
8. ‘Media’ versus human communication
9. The inward turn: consciousness and the text
John Hartley: After Ongism: The Evolution of Networked Intelligence