Tolstoy's Dictaphone: Technology and the Muse

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Sven Birkerts
Graywolf Press, Aug 1, 1996 - Literary Collections - 266 pages
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When the great Russian writer Tolstoy was first offered the use of a brand new invention called the Dictaphone, he refused it, saying that it was sure to be "too dreadfully exciting" and would distract him from his literary endeavors.

For this provocative launch of the Graywolf Forum series, Sven Birkerts invited a number of literary writers to tell him how they were reacting to the technological innovatios of our day. Do the "dreadful excitements" promised by a digital future cause us to forfeit our time-honored cultural traditions for dubious gain? Or will the electronic millennium usher in an unprecedented age of interconnectedness and opportunities for wider communication?

In the tradition of the Graywolf Annuals, this first Graywolf Forum presents a wide range of responses from contemporary creative writers.


Sven Birkerts
Harvey Blume
Daniel Mark Epstein
Jonathan Franzen
Thomas Frick
Alice Fulton
Albert Goldbarth
Carolyn Guyer
Gerald Howard
Wendy Lesser
Ralph Lombreglia
Carole Maso
Askold Melnyczuk
Robert Pinsky
Wulf Rehder
Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Tom Sleigh
Mark Slouka
Paul West

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TOLSTOY'S DICTAPHONE: Technology and the Muse

User Review  - Kirkus

Stepping down a bit from his Arnoldian brand of technophobia, Birkerts (Gutenberg Elegies, 1994) gathers fellow writers' essays together to confront the wired future. The hot topic of the digitally ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - samwilson2007au - LibraryThing

This collection of essays and stories changed my life! That's probably putting it far too strongly, but in reading this book I did gain some greater level of comfort and clarity about using technology to support art (specifically writing onscreen). Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Sven Birkerts (editor) is the author of The Gutenberg Elegies and lives in Arlington, Massachusetts.

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