Our Affection for Books

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The May 28, 2009 Daily Princetonian (the student newspaper at Princeton) announced that ‘The University will partner with <Amazon.com> to provide students and faculty members in three courses with the new Kindle DX electronic reader next academic year as a part of a sustainability initiative to conserve paper’. Less than two weeks into that year, the 28 September issue reported that students were not altogether happy with this development, one sighing, ‘I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool.. It’s clunky, slow and a real pain to operate’. Not only students but also professors expressed frustration in the activity of engaged reading – from having common reference to page numbers, to the involvements of underlining, highlighting, marginal noting, bookmarking, and so forth – and found themselves in retro-yearning for books. Despite the advantages of searching and sustainability, of compactness and portability, the new technology seems to be confirming an affection for the old that was something other than hysteria, desperate love, or proleptic nostalgia. We may appreciate the searches and researches enabled by electronic editions, but as readers, we seem to turn to books for engagements that are non-digitally translatable. This article is part of a Literature Compass special issue on ‘Scholarly Editing in the Twenty-First Century’. The special issue is made up of the following pieces:. ‘Special Issue: “Scholarly Editing in the Twenty-First Century”– Preface’, Regenia Gagnier, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 33–34, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00672.x. ‘Special Issue: “Scholarly Editing in the Twenty-First Century”– Introduction’, Arthur F. Marotti, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 35–36, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00673.x. ‘Electronic Archives and Critical Editing’, Jerome McGann, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 37–42, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00674.x. ‘Theorizing the Digital Scholarly Edition’, Hans Walter Gabler, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 43–56, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00675.x. ‘Editing Without Walls’, Peter Robinson, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 57–61, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00676.x. ‘Our Affection for Books’, Susan J. Wolfson, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 62–71, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00677.x. ‘His Days Among the Dead Are No Longer Passed: Editing Robert Southey’, Lynda Pratt, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 72–81, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00678.x. ‘Different Demands, Different Priorities: Electronic and Print Editions’, Stuart Curran, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 82–88, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00679.x. ‘Editing Manuscripts in Print and Digital Forms’, Arthur F. Marotti, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 89–94, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00680.x. ‘All of the Above: The Importance of Multiple Editions of Renaissance Manuscripts’, Steven W. May, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 95–101, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00681.x. ‘Editing Early Modern Women’s Manuscripts: Theory, Electronic Editions, and the Accidental Copy-Text’, Margaret J.M. Ezell, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 102–109, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00682.x. ‘Different Strokes, Same Folk: Designing the Multi-form Digital Edition’, Daniel Paul O’Donnell, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 110–119, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00683.x. ‘Special Issue: “Scholarly Editing in the Twenty-First Century”– A Conclusion’, Laura Mandell, Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 120–133, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00684.x. ‘Special Issue: “Scholarly Editing in the Twenty-First Century”– Combined Bibliography’, Marotti et al., Literature Compass 7.2 (2010): 134–144, doi: 10.1111/j.1741-4113.2009.00685.x.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-71
Number of pages10
JournalLiterature Compass
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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