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a novel by any other name would read the same ?

mkarol's picture

Instead of buying a hard copy Alice in Wonderland, I found the full text online. I know that the point of reading the work was to actually 'read a novel' and get back to books, so is what I did in some way "against" what the point was? If the story was obviously taken from "a novel" and just posted onto a separate medium, does that actually change what it is? This reflects back to the Walt Whitman Archive, but I still can't quite get my mind around it. Is my Alice in Wonderland now different from those of the book-readers, just because I read it off of a computer screen?


Jessica Watkins's picture

The Life Remains the Same

The fact that books can be experienced and perceived in so many different ways further supports that idea that literary works are indeed "living" organisms (in class during Dimock's visit we defined something as "living" if it relies on certain things to function). What would books be if they were so one-dimensional as to only produce one kind of response? What would they be if they were not supposed to be experienced in different ways/through different media so as to be up for interpretation, to produce more discussion? Literary works may be more similar to the people who read them than we think; they are just as diverse and inviting, just as questioning and beautiful. There are as many "literary kinds" as there are types of personalities and beliefs.

aseidman's picture

I like this question. :) I'm

I like this question. :)

I'm reading the book in two different ways! I have the full text online, and the audiobook!

If we think that reading the book online might change the medium, what does listening to it on audio do? Does that turn it intoa  performance, instead of a novel, even though it was written as a novel, and the text of the audiobook is the same as the text of the novel? Or is a performance of a novel?

One thing I will say...don't use the Alice audiobook. The narrator insists on doing voices, and they're terrible! Reading it online is better, and leaves much more to the imagination (thank goodness. My imagination does not produce such obnoxious voices for every character.)

spleenfiend's picture

i've read plenty of books

i've read plenty of books online, and the only issue i've ever had with it is that i get too distracted by the rest of the internet, so if it's for homework, i prefer having a book to hold.

to me, it wouldn't have made a difference, though not having the original pictures does change something.

skindeep's picture


i think (correct me if im wrong) that peopel wanted to start reading novels because they liked actually holding the book and being able to interact with it in a sense that is different from reading online.

but then again, my copy of alice in wonderland is a very old one with large print and a lot of pictures, so my experiece of reading it, even though it was on paper, was different from most other people.

basically i think that each of us had a different experience with the 'book', and although i know that reading it off a computer screen would have changed it for me, it might not for you.

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