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Marshall McLuhan

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Until more than two centuries after printing nobody discovered how to maintain a single tone or attitude throughout a prose composition.

Marshall McLuhan

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A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided. The invention of the printing press is an excellent example. Printing fostered the modern idea of individuality but it destroyed the medieval sense of community and social integration. Printing created prose but made poetry into an exotic and elitist form of expression. Printing made modern science possible but transformed religious sensibility into an exercise in superstition. Printing assisted in the growth of the nation-state but, in so doing, made patriotism into a sordid if not a murderous emotion. Another way of saying this is that a new technology tends to favor some groups of people and harms other groups. School teachers, for example, will, in the long run, probably be made obsolete by television, as blacksmiths were made obsolete by the automobile, as balladeers were made obsolete by the printing press. Technological change, in other words, always results in winners and losers.

Neil Postman

The present volume to this point might be regarded as a gloss on a single text of Harold Innis: "The effect of the discovery of printing was evident in the savage religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Application of power to communication industries hastened the consolidation of vernaculars, the rise of nationalism, revolution, and new outbreaks of savagery in the twentieth century."

Marshall McLuhan

When you review an exhibition of paintings you don't compose a painting about it, when you review a film you don't make a film about it and when you review a new CD you don't make a little CD about it. But when you review a prose-narrative then you write a prose-narrative about that prose-narrative and those who write the secondary prose-narrative, let's face it, must have once had dreams of writing the primary prose-narrative. And so there is a kind of hierarchy of envy and all those other things.

Martin Amis

In the present day, however, the province of Rhetoric, in the widest acceptation that would reckoned admissible, comprehends all "Composition in Prose;" in the narrowest sense, it would be limited to "Persuasive Speaking."

Richard Whately

A creative artist works on his next composition because he is not satisfied with his previous one. When he loses a critical attitude toward his own work, he ceases to be an artist.

Dmitri Shostakovich
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