Victor Hugo: This Will Kill That

The Internet Will Kill The Book

Bill Powell manages, somehow or other, to preface my thoughts before I’ve a chance to put them out there. He has done so again. Before I started on Aristotle’s Rhetoric a few weeks ago I was ruminating over the idea of the internet as the next wave of Reformation.  We can see it in the Manosphere already, and we will see more as the blue pill becomes more toxic and the red more inevitable.

At the same time I wonder if the internet will have the same smashing success that the printed press did for the Reformation.  There were at the time of the Reformation a number of presses, editors, scholars and authors working ad fontes.* The movement which prefaced and gave substance to Luther, the movement which founded and gave a purpose to the handful of dissenting printers, that funded the imprint of the works of Augustine and the Greek New Testament that molded Luther’s modern German amalgam of High and Low, assumed an intellectual movement first. The first steps of the Reformation were a return to Classical sources, not only for their ideas per se, but for their aesthetics, how they expressed those ideas.

There is no corresponding movement that I know of in the Manosphere, or the internet propre. The internet may well kill the book, like Victor Hugo proposes the book killed architecture, but while the victory of the book came from a seeking for the beautiful, the good, and the sublime; the victory of the internet can hope for at best, without a drastic change in route for the ‘sphere, to be a victory of onanstic pleasures and hedonistic masterbation.

It was a premonition that human thought, in changing its outward form, was also about to change its outward mode of expression; that the dominant idea of each generation would, in future, be embodied in a new material, a new fashion; that the book of [paper], so solid and so enduring, was to give way to the [internet], more solid and more enduring still. In this respect the vague formula of the Archdeacon had a second meaning—that one Art would dethrone another Art: [The internet] will destroy [printing]. -Excerpt From This Will Kill That, edited.

When it gives way will it be from the strength of the victor or from the rot of the fallen?

Victor Hugo’s essay comes in the first half of The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame, as an interlude wherein the author plainly wishes to make an excursion from the story to discuss two of his great loves: architecture and books.  It has that prophetic feel that human history gives to anyone who reads closely.  It is short and well worth a man’s time.

Victor Hugo – This Will Kill That

Also, book two of The Art Of Rhetoric is ready. Here.

Veritas numquam perit,
The Poet

*To the source (literally the spring or fountain).

This entry was posted in Essays, History, Renaissance, Western Heritage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Victor Hugo: This Will Kill That

  1. Bill Powell says:

    Thank you sir again for the linkage. Looks like great minds think alike. There is however something out there that I just heard about that has the potential to eclipse the internet in it’s importance. I don’t have all the details yet but when I do I’ll write about it.

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