Special Seminar: Angles and Angels:
Medieval and Modern Literacies

When: Wednesday 21 November 2012, 6.30-8pm
Venue: The Alderman (upstairs) 134 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Speaker: Bob DiNapoli

(special seminar)

Wednesday 21 November 2012; 6:30 – 8pm

Angles and Angels: Medieval and Modern Literacies
(Bob DiNapoli)
In 597 Pope Gregory the Great, so smitten by the physical beauty of some Anglian slaves on sale in the markets of Rome, pronounced them non anglii, sed angeli (“not Angles but angels!”) and resolved that these angelic creatures should be converted to the true faith. The successful mission he dispatched converted a long-established pre-literate Anglo-Saxon culture to the text-based, highly literate culture of early medieval Christianity, with remarkable literary and other cultural consequences.
In our own time, the advent of digital information culture and the new “literacies” it continues to spawn looks set (to many—not least in the marketing divisions of Apple and Microsoft, among others) to render the culture of the book as archaic as the oral literacy of the ancient Celtic bard and the Anglo-Saxon scop. In this talk I will compare these two revolutions in literacy and some of their psychological, social, and epistemological consequences.

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