Project 1 Exercise 1

What happens to a story when you take it from its source ,  make it permanent in print and disseminate to a wide audience?

  • Taking a story which has perhaps only been heard previously, via oral tradition, and printing it for it to be read means that the expression of the story would change. hearing the inflexions and tones of the voice telling the story would be lost. In some cultures stories were chanted or sung.  It has been interesting for me to attend readings by authors whose books I have read. hearing them read their own work often makes the story more immediate and alive.
  • The printed story becomes fixed, loses the possibility of subtle changes that might occur with oral story-telling.
  • The story exists beyond the time when there is nobody who remembers it orally.
  • The story also becomes public, loses privacy and the details are available indefinitely.
  • And…individuals can read the story in private, there is more privacy in reading print.
  • The story can spread the word in a positive sense too, sharing about cultural histories and mythology.
  • The story may be about a skill and printing it would offer other people that information and give them access to that skill. More broadly printing would be a way of exchanging ideas, knowledge and research.
  • Stories could be read aloud to a group of people by someone unfamiliar with the oral tradition.

Implications from the printing press.

  • Initially the church had control of what was handwritten and shared. This meant they could censor or limit information. With printing the church lost this power.
  • Is there some hierarchical control over the content of what is printed now and how do we know it to be true ? This is a question I would ask primarily around newspaper and magazine journalism and is probably more about the writer than the printing. However, social and political opinion is informed by newspapers. I do see how printing may have been a powerful agent for change culturally and historically as well as scientifically.
  • As ideas became more accessible to people there would have been a creative exchange and the potential for new ideas emerge. Scientific papers would be accurate and the need to memorise would be lifted, freeing the mind to reflect on the content of the paper.
  • Speed of information and knowledge exchange.
  • Affordable compared to hand written manuscripts.
  • Consistency in spelling and grammar.




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