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The Effects of Incoming Technologies on Literature

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Literature has always been a source of inspiration and a form of common consciousness that, in addition, serves as a censor of each epoch. The processes that occur in every society are reflected in its literature, which allows assuming that the form of literature and its content represents the morals and fears of a particular society in a particular period. Therefore, in this paper, there has been made an attempt to analyze correlation between incoming technologies and perception, and the form and content of contemporary literature.

First of all, it is necessary to identify what incoming technologies are and how they affect contemporary culture. The process of technologies development is a result of cultural change, transformation of communication and perception of reality. Technological progress is a result of transition to the new levels of perception, knowledge and information; therefore, it is irreversible. It is impossible to stop or slow this process down, as it has impact on all forms of common consciousness and literature in particular. The content and representation of literature is under the effect of this technological development; therefore, instead of determining whether its effect on literature is positive or negative, there is a need for a deeper understanding of inner processes in contemporary humans. In this paper, both negative and positive influence of technologies will be mentioned; however, the paper is focused on the analysis of correlation between changes in perception, values and worldviews due to new technologies and literature. The recent research demonstrates that digital technologies promote literacy skills development, as they are seen “to offer significant opportunities for helping people, especially children, to develop literacy skills” (Baird and Henninger 1). It means that technologies may be effective in literacy skills development if paper-printed literacy cannot be perceived.

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The discourse regarding transformations of literature representation and new technologies usually comes to discussions of advantages and disadvantages of paper books and electronic books. This is a quite logical and significant phase, as the form in which people access literature affects their health and pleasure from reading. It is worth to take into account the advantages of paper books from the psychological point of view. Paper books make a reader feel how many pages have been read and how many pages are to be read. Turning of paper pages makes human brain recognize that some portions of information are perceived and will be analyzed. People who read e-books cannot experience a feeling of accomplishment after they turn the digital page. The reason is the feeling of reaction when the fingers touch the paper page and hold the book. According to Bushak, for example, “A 2014 study found that readers who used Kindles were less competent in recalling the plot and events in the book than those who used paperbacks” (2015). This sensation is very important as it gives satisfaction and confirms digestibility of information.

Next, it is worth facing that invention and popularity of digital devices such as e-readers, tablets and laptops witness the need of perceiving information in a new way. When the rhythm of lifestyle is considerably accelerated, the needs regarding perception and communication are transforming. Consequently, the need for information is rising, especially the need for quick access to certain data and convenient storing of gigabytes of data. It may seem inconvenient for contemporary readers to buy paper books that may be rather costly and difficult to store. That is why more and more people choose reading via digital devices instead of paper books. It is difficult to state if people start reading more or less due to new technologies. The quantity of reading individuals probably does not depend on the form of literature representation.

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Taking into account the abovementioned factors, it may be stated that the destiny and value of literature does not significantly depend on the form of representation. Hollander, for instance, states that “technologies are contributing to and shaping the formation of the activities and institutions of literature throughout history, and technology as represented in or by literature” (753). The true problem is that contemporary post-industrial society characterized by post-modern culture is not determined to deepen its intellectual and spiritual life by referring to literature. On the contrary, contemporary people are rather focused on success, entertainment, material wealth, and social status rather than on philosophical dilemmas that are explored in literature. This phenomenon is not easily understandable, as reflection and theoretical thinking are needed for a person to be able to perceive literature. Reflection takes too much time that may be spend on money making; that is why literature is not preferred among the other leisure activities.

Thus, technological development is not the prime cause that generates transformation of literature and its perception. Individuals who love reading will enjoy it from paper book or from kindle. For example, the research in Brazil showed “that digital and printed books could be complementary” (Martino and Suely 401). In addition, the study conducted in 2013 proved “that reading can happen effectively in a variety of presentation formats” (Margolin et al 512).However, the value of literature as a kind of art remains a debatable question. Today, when art is transformed into art-object, literature may also be transformed into some sort of semblance. Civil life becomes more democratic and favorable, which means that literature is not censored as much as it was in the late 19th century. In the contemporary age, literature serves as a form of expression, which may fit anyone who desires it.

In conclusion, developing technologies have both positive and negative impact on literature. The positive impact is that literature becomes more accessible, cost-effective, and easy to store. The negative impact is that people who read e-books from devices have no opportunity to experience the sensation of holding a book and turning its pages. It is worth considering that accelerated technological development is a result of cultural, worldview and spiritual changes of mankind that affect literature as well. Both technologies and literature are influenced by the global changes of human perception and needs. Those who enjoy reading will read from kindle or from paper books or even from both. However, the true issue is how literature is valued and what kind of destiny is waiting for it.

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