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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 20, 2010 8:00am-9:15am EST

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have fallen into that trap of imagining that freedom is only for white people. which is... >> which he wrote an essay to that effect, the title of which i will not risk quoting on the air. >> i know the one you mean. >> okay, can i say it has been real, good luck with the books and with your collection. >> and all this best to you, too, christopher. >> thanks for coming in. :
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>> somehow it turns out that i've published three books in the last week or so and they're books about books, so this is a bookish occasion, but i think books are a lot of fun, so i hope you won't it's too heavy going and academic. i especially want to thank jeff mayerson and to wish him well. this is an independent book
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shop, it's a center of socialbility,ent electric actual life, book shops matter, especially independent ones, so jeff, you are the salt of the earth and good luck to you. [applause] >> right. >> so three books about books. what we are not doing is having a funeral for the book. i think this is a time to celebrate books. but i've been invited to so many conferences on the death of the book, that i think it must be very much alive. it reminds me of one of my favorite graffiti, which is in the princeton university library in the men's room on the second floor, you may have seen one like this, it says god is dead.
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you know it, right. and then underneath, someone rights nicha is dead, signed god. well, the book is not dead. it doesn't follow that it's having an easy life, but it really is thriving. i've got some statistics, which i will not share with you, but what's interesting is that the number of books published each year increases and the graph goes up and up and up. when last measured, it was almost one million new titles worldwide per year. a million new titles. i mean, the book is doing very well. thank you. and the notion that you know, everything is digitized and kodak is being replaced by new media is simply crazy. not that i'm against
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digitization, on the contrary, we're doing all we can to forward it at the harvard library, but it's a lesson we can use from the history of books or communication in general, namely, one medium doe not displace another. we found this out in the case of, well, radio did not displace books and television did not displace radio, and so on and wallison 0. in fact, we now have pretty good, hard scholarly evidence that guttenberg's great invention did not at all replace manuscript publishing. as you probably know, man knew script publishing in the 15t 15th century was a big business and there were almost assembly line scribes who are copying at a fear just rate, they were doing very well and i think the invention of moveable type or the reinvention of moveable type by guttenberg
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stimulated manuscript production, it didn't wipe it out. a recent study by harold love, a fine english scholar has demonstrated that manuscript publishing thrived throughout the late 15th, 16th, 17th, and well into the 18th century and a former friend of mine, now dead, don mckenzie, argued that it was cheaper in the early modern period, right up into the 19th century, to hire scribes to copy out books. if you were producing an addition of less than -- an edition of less than 100 copies, so scribal publication continued very well and not that i can extrapolate easily from the past, but i really think that digital publishing, the looks that you will be reading online are going to reinforce publishing through print, and
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there's a great future for publishers if they can get to people like you through the digital means, whet your appetite for a book and then persuade you to come to a place like the harvard book store and buy it, or who knows, you might use the famous machine down in that corner, i don't know if you've seen it yet, the espresso book machine, which is an example of now the new technology can reinforce the old printed kodaks. what do you do? well, you want to order a book, let's say it's a book if the public domain, it will be virtually free or a book that's in print but whose publisher has agreed to play ball with this new machine, so you order it, you contact a digital database, the book is down loaded on the computer here instantly, and within four minutes it is printed out, trimmed, a paperback cover is attached to it, and you walk off within four
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minutes with a brand new paperback under your arm and the cost is quite reasonable. it varies of course, but it's an example of how this kind electronic technology can reinforce the traditional book. so i think we're living if a very interesting transitional period in which the new technology and the old technology, guttenberg and all of that are thriving together but no one knows how it's going to work out. when i was an undergraduate, i remember the first time i walked up the steps of widener library and i looked up at those columns and i thought here is all of the world's knowledge packed into one building. a splendid building, right live situated at the very center, the heart of the campus, but that of course was a grand illusion, even then, it -- widener did not
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contain everything. we now have 16.3 million books in the whole harvard university system, and if a million new books are being published every year, you can see how far we are from having everything. we're not a deposit library, we're not the library of congress, but we are the largest university or library in the world. by far, so it's a great monument to the printed word and to other forms of communication. however, as i say, that freshman sentiment walking up the steps into a kind of temple of learning was, if you like, a grand illusion and it's not shared i think by freshmen today. well, i should ask you later on, i think most freshmen today feel that all information is online.
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and that too of course is a grand illusion because it isn't. so we've got to work our way through these, if you like, colossal cases of collective false consciousness to greater understanding of things, and that's what i'm trying to do in the first of these three books that have come out. this is called "the case for books" and it deals with a series of interconnected issues. i'm simplifying slightly, but despite i'm sounding optimistic about the case for books and i'm convinced that the kodaks is one of the greatest inventions of all time, and that it will continue indefinitely. despite that, i think it really would be naive to say that book sellers, publishers, authors, even readers have it easy. these are hard times, in fact. why?
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well, because of a series of interlocking problems. just looked at from the perspective of the world of learning, university presses, grad graduate students, students of all kind, you could begin with the spiraling cost of scholarly periodicals, especially, but not exclusively in the hard sciences. some annual subscriptions to periodicals cost more than $30,000. several cost more than $10,000. and we at harvard have to buy all serious scholarly journals because we have to keep up with everything, and if we started canceling subscriptions, our faculty and students would revolt and i would be strung up by the nearest lantern. so we're trapped and in fact, some of these publishers use what we call cocaine pricing.
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you price a journal at a reasonable level, the readers get hooked on it, the libraries buy it, and then you start jacking up the price and we can't unsubscribe, because everyone wants that journal or wants ma bundle of journals, and so on. the result is not here at harvard, where we're continuing with difficulty, to buy books in large numbers, but elsewhere. many university libraries are cancelling monographs. the journal proportion of their acquisitions is simply squeezing out the book sector. in some places, i won't name them, but they're well known to librarians, instead of a 50/50 relation in acquisitions between journals, periodicals, and monographs, it's 80 or 90 to 10%, so libraries are no longer
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buying books in large quantities. and that means that serious publishers, especially university presses are selling fewer and fewer and they have given up publishing monographs in many fields, colonial latin america, for example. if you're a graduate student in colonial latin america, you can't get your dissertation published, and no publishing, you perish as the slogan goes. so interesting r there is a kind -- there is a kind of ripple effect moving throughout the world of learning, in which everything is connected with everything else, but it seems to me the new technology is a ground for hope. my own ideal, if -- i'm speaking as a specialist in 18t 18th century studies, is what the 18th century called the republic of letters. it's a republic with no police
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force, no boundaries, complete egaltarianism, anyone can participate, it's where talent counts. in the 18th century, as i've tried to show in earlier studies, this was an ideal that was very far from reality. in fact, authors and publishers and so on were always fighting and life was pretty nasty, actually, if you were trying to make it in the republic of letters in the 18th century. but today, it seems to me that we've got new possibilities of really reviving this republic of letters, thanks to the new technology. so we have this espresso book condition, but we have many other things as well. it seems to me that there will be a reorganization of the modes of production within publishing, warehousing will be cheaper, transport will be cheaper, you will be down loading and digitizing and transforming into
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printed works, all kind of books, i think in a way that will be simply wonderful and that will open up and democratize learning. that's what we're frying to do also in the harvard university library. i mean, if i had one word tore describe this sort of policies that i'm trying to promote, it would be openness. we have an open access program that was voted by the faculty of arts and sciences two years ago now, and that means that all new scholarship in the form of articles, scholarly articles, will be put on an open access repository, made available free of charge everywhere in the world. i've created an office for scholarly communications, which is disseminating this work through the repository, and is also planning to expand things so that we will have dissertations, digitized and
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available free everywhere. we will have what's called gray literature also available. that's -- well, casual talks like tonight's. why shouldn't something like this be made available if anyone wants to see it, or work in progress reports, or, for scientists, all kinds of labs that -- lab work for which they keep logs. the possibilities are simply fabulous. so i think harvard should open itself up, share its intellectual wealth and be part of this digital future. that brings me to the subject of google. now, i will try not to go on and on about google. it's true that google apparently thinks i'm its enemy. it's wrong. i'm an admirer of good egg. i think google is wonderful. i admire it so much and think it's so good, that it's dangerous. because, of course, with this power, the attempts to
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monopolize access to books and the whole world of information, google will have the ability to indulge in cocaine pricing. and i feel that we have to have guarantees against that. we need the public authorities to prevent this magnificent thing called google book search from exploiting the public by demanding too high prices through its subscription service, which it will launch. i even think that it could be in the interest of google to moderate its pricing, and to turn itself into a national digital library. that's what this country needs in the world of books. it can be done. president sarkozi in france said
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50 million euros would be made available to patronize the digitizing of france. why can't we do what some of the dutch are doing and some of the scandinavians are doing? it's not easy, it will require a lot of effort, it will even require the changing of our copyright laws. now copyright is another vast subject, i won't go on and on about it, but i'm trying to show how all of these subjects that i tried to discuss in this book are linked. so as some of you may know, the history of copy right goes back to the statue of ann in 1710 in england, but the key turning point was a case in the house of lords in 1774, where it was determined that copyright would not be eternal. it would be limited, and the limit would be 14 years renewable. well, the founders of our
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republic copied the notion of copyright from the british, and our first copyright law, which is entitled -- how does it go, for the stimulus of knowledge, i haven't got the quotation exactly right, but for the forwarding of knowledge, the -- for the encouragement of knowledge, that's it. the copyright law of 1790 was 14 years, and another 14 years renewable. a limit of 28 years, which i think is great. but the 1998 copyright law, the sony bono copyright extension act, known as the mickey mouse protection act, gives -- makes copyright last for the life of the author, plus 70 years. that is more than a century in most cases. and why? well, in part because mickey mouse was about to fall into the public domain.
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so hollywood mobilized and now we've got a very poor copyright law, which is not encouraging the spread of knowledge at all. so we need changes in the copyright law, we need changes, i believe, notably in the regulation concerning so-called otheorphan books which i could discuss later if you like. i could go on and on and i will like to mention the other book which i'm publishing recently, it's got maybe a -- i like titles that are sort of amusing and i would like the text to be actually if possible, amusing. one of my ambitions is to make my leader laugh aloud. i don't know if i've ever succeeded, but i would be happy if i could sit in the let's say the reading room of widener and watch a student read a book and laugh. the power and enjoyment of
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laughter, i think, is just a wonderful thing. well, it's not going to make you laugh, but the title is "the devil in the holy water." now, i have a subtitle that explains, or the art of slander from louis xiv to napoleon. it is a book about what the french called in the 18t 18th century, bad books. another expression for them was philosophical books. the police call them bad books and the readers call them philosophical books. they combined wonderful ingredients. they were anti-religious, they were sadicious and they were what we would call pornographic, so they made terrific reading. they were in fact, best sellers, and i brought two them along to show you. maybe this -- you can't see it perhaps too well, but notice the
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size of this book. it's a book that could be sold under the cloak, so imagine a peddler coming up to you and saying -- and you open that up -- of course, it wouldn't be bound probably. it would be stitched perhaps, and it's got a very provocative frontist piece. you can't see it pain from back there, but it shows a journa journalist, who is firing off cannon shots at everyone, and especially the powers, the evil powers of versailles, the old regime up of above. it is a wonderfully wicked book and very funny. i won't go into the details, but you get the idea. it was what the french called a libel.
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well i had done a previous study of forbidden books in which i was able to come up with statistics and i was able to trace the demand for 720 titles. of the top 12, five were libels, and i never heard of any of them. they're hall anonymous, none of exist in histories of french literature. they simply disappeared from what people think of as the literary history of france. but in the 18th century, people loved them. they so liked -- you know, wonderful, delicious little biscuits, if you like, and it's clear from the correspondence of book sellers, i've read 50,000 letters of 18th century book sellers, that these books sold like crazy. the public wanted to read about here's another nice title, the private life of louis xv. four volumes.
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and it's full of sex, but it's also full of politics and even philosophy. it's a fascinating work, very well written. we have a copy of the translation of the private life of louis xv into english. here in the library and on the top it says g. washington. we have washington's copy of the private life of louis xv and it's not altogether surprising, because washington wanted to read about all the sex going on in versailles, as did everyone else. it's a terrific tale. so my argument in this book is that this literature, which is enormous, deserves to be taken seriously, even though
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librarians didn't necessarily stock libraries with it, because they thought it was, well, trash. trash is interesting. we need a history of trash. we should take it seriously. why? well, because in part, the police of the old regime took it seriously and not just the police, but louis xv himself and all the ministers and mistresses and so on who are dragged through the mud in books like this one, all of these people saw it first of all as horrible, and wanted to protect their name, but more than protecting your name and your reputation, you will protect your position in a power system. these books, there's the second i want to show you and it has the same title, it's called the devil in the holy water, i've
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cribbed the title from this very important book in the 18t 18th century, these books that revealed all about the private lives of people in power, were seen as powerful themselves, and what i tried to do, aside from analyzing their character in general is to show how this regime reacted to the literature of libel, partly because it demonstrates the importance of it, at least as seen from the perspective of people if power, but also because it's so much fun. i believe that as a writer, i want to write for the educated reader, not just the college professors, so i hope the reader will enjoy the tales of how the public tried to suppress libels,
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because it's full of hugger mugger. there are simply amazing stories of kidnapping and assassination attempts, of secret agents, of the agents of the asian police, they like to call themselves as false barons and they go to england to capture libelists, to hit them over the head, take them to the bus and get them to squeal about their sources of information and the whole production system that produced these best selling libels. i won't go on and on about the adventures of these people, but it's a lot of fun, and this book in particular, the french version of the original devil in the holy water, tells the story of the attempt of the french police to capture libelists. the book was written -- they're
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all anonymous by the way and they're written by people that i'm sure you've they have heard of. in this case, the author is one of my favorite characters from the obscure areas of french literary history, in fact, virtually no one has heard of him or of the book i'm about to mention, which is the third and last, translated into english, "the bohemians." he wrote this book, "the devil in the holy water," he wrote at least a of half dozen other libels. he was the most terrible libelist that the french police ran across. he was hiding in on done and he had the english canal between him and the police. he also had the benefit of really virtual freedom of the press, as it existed in london, and frankly, the british
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couldn't care less if libels were being produced in london and smuggled into france about the secret life of louis xv and louis xvi and all the rest. in fact, they were at war with france. that was our war that gave us independence, and it was a terrific time for the life of a libeler, so this fellow, was churning out libels throughout the 17 -- well, sustain 80's, and he -- 1780's and he was only one of a whole colony of french expatriates who made this their specialty. the book sold very well, as i said, but they also were excellent for blackmailing the french, and so they wrote a letter, i'm a loyal subject of the king and i discovered to my horror that a terrible subject is about to publish a book about
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the -- well, about the queen, and the king and their relations or their lack of relations, and it's really distressing for a certain sum, every last copy of this edition could be destroyed, so there's a wonderful blackmail operation that kicks into full gear and without going into the detail, the police finally, not having succeeded in kidnapping him, or they did manage to buy him off for a whole series of reasons, lured him to france, the french coast, and captured him. they threw him in prison where he sat for four years. now, four years is a long time for a prisoner. the normal period was about four months. it's not a modern prison.
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the modern concept of prison doesn't exist. so he was one of very, very few prisoners who stayed more than a half a year. he actually stayed four years and three months. he arrived in 1784, he was released in october of 1788. as you may have heard, the prison was nearly empty on july 14, 1789, when the french crowd liberated it. there were seven prisoners in the prison at that time. the prison in the late 1780's was not full of people, just a handful really. but one was my man, and the other, who was there for exactly the same amount of time, who also was a marquis, who also came from the ancient noblity, and who also was writing novels,
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was of course, the marquis desad. he's writing these wicked books in one cell and pelpour is writing a wicked book in the other cell and this is the book, the bohemians. it is a truly bad book, in that sense of the word, and i found out to my astonishment, while tracing the lives of these libelers, that no copies of this book were available. i could only locate six in the world. not a single copy in paris, only one in france, actually, in the little -- the municipal library of roen. it's a book that completely disappeared from french literary history, just as the author, pelpour disappeared, but when i finally got my microfilm copy
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from the municipal library of roen and started reading it, i thought, this is a master piece, this is a terrific liberties and foreigliberties andforeign polie novel. now master piece is too strong, i wanted to believe it was a master piece once i got into it, but it's an incredibly interesting book, so i managed to persuade them to be republished, it's just appeared yesterday or the day before in paris, it's been published in dutch, and it's now available in english. i recommend it strongly. it's a little shocking in places, because it outdoughs desad in the description sex, but it's very wicked, it's anti-clerical and full of information about the life of hack writers, because pelpour was one of them and it turns out
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it is a novel, it's a novel that's full of information about these hack writers that pelpour himself knew, including the whole colony in london. some of whom went on to be leaders of the french revolution. the most important one is jacks pierre, so there's a lot to be learned, as well as a lot of fun to be had from this whole world of books from 18th century france, which thanks to the richness of the archives, is available for research and now available for reading. that sounds like a commercial. i am not trying to persuade you to buy them, but i am trying to make a plug for the books. it is the most exciting field in the humanities, it is a field that is just bursting with energy, new ideas, it's very active here in harvard, but it's everywhere in the world
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actually. china, for example. so the history of books is, i think, an example of how new life is being infused into the humanities with new techniques and new ideas. we're going places. and i hope that the harvard university library will be at the heart of this revival of interestn books. the old fashioned book as well as the new digital book. thank you very much. [applause] i think there's times for questions. if you have any, don't hold back. speak into the mic if you don't mind. >> thank you very much. when it comes to digital publishing, especially when it's in the hands of the private domain like google, i'm worried about protecting the
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authenticity of the text. >> yes. >> i can compare one copy against another, but how can i compare two digital copies against each other too? >> it's a problem. i don't know if you heard the question. how can you be sure of the authenticity of the text? again, i'm speaking as an admirer of google, but google is like a bulldozer, you know, it digitizes everything. it digitizes by the shelf. i've seen them do it. actually, i was allowed to watch the process digitization. it's terrific. that's the only way you can digitize millions and millions of books, but your objection, i think, is valid, because google doesn't ask, what is the best edition, is this edition valid? does this edition have all of the volumes announced in it? middle march is lacking one of its volumes in the version that appears in google book search. etc., etc.
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now, another great thing about google is they say, right, you know, we move fast, we just plunge in, and then if we make mistakes, we will correct them. so i admire their willingness to take the plunge, and then to correct things. there's hope that we will get better editions. however, as far as i know, they have no bible graphers. no concept of the integrity of the text. instead, it's information and massive, massive information. so that has its advantages, it has its disadvantages. and what i hope is that we will have a national digital library that will do the job right. i hope it will happen with the help of google, so if you're listening, help. and i think that google would -- with the collaboration of university libraries, bible
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graphers, book people who really understand book, could use its database, not for books that are now in print, commercially available book as google cause them, but rather for books that are in the public domain, as they're already doing, and then books that are out of print, but in copyright. if we could take all of these books, that would be the totality of books in the english language up to 1923, which is when the copyright laws get tricky. it would be fabulous. so google, i think, would not lose anything by contributing to this cause, and we would all gain. >> first of all, thank you very much for your wonderful, inspiring perspective. some would arguend i guess i would from my -- argue, and i guess i would from my small corner of the world, there are actually fewer readers of books now, despite the fact that there may be more titles each year and i hate to even say this, but
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it's actually possible that student, senior student or students at harvard would go through the entire system and not read a book and that would be typical of a lot college students these days, so in looking at that -- those limitations, what is your sort of thoughts? >> the question, in case you didn't hear it, is is it the case that there are more books but fewer readers and could there even be students who go through harvard without reading a book? that i doubt frankly. but it is true that students, specialize early and some of them, you know, read online, they read snippets frequently or they read extracts or they read articles sometimes, but the notion of cover to cover reading continuous reading, and reflective reading, what i call slow reading, maybe that's a losing -- not a losing cause, but anyhow, it's retreating.
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when i was a student here, there was a wonderful professor, ben brow wer, who was a champion of the new criticism and this is when speed reading was just being offered as a technique and brower said no, we need to slow down. i mean, i think in general, in america, we need to slow down. why read fast? read slowly, enjoy it, let your fantasy roll. well, i doubt that we have so much of that kind of reading today. it's a loss, i think. however, the history of reading itself is an aspect of the history of books, or vice versa, if you rather, and we've discovered lots of things about how people used to read books. they actually read snippets frequently in the 16th, 17t 17th, 18th century. we have a fabulous collection of so-called commonplace books in houghton, so thomas jefferson reads a book, he copies out a passage and then he uses that
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passage later with he's writing something else in his law practice, when he was a young man. books were often not read from cover to cover in the 17t 17th century. they were read for ammunition to be used in political battles and ideological warfare. so the history of reeding isn't this wonderful sort of paradise we have lost, but rather, a very uneven terrain in which there were lots of ups and downs. so who knows. maybe the -- our ability to do word searches now will open up a new kind of reading. but i share your worry. >> it was great to see you again after i'm not going to say how many years. my question has to do more with how, for example, a great library that you are in control of or working in at harvard, all
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the libraries, if they in any way relate to libraries in public schools and particularly kids like my grandkids are starting at earlier and earlier ages to be so adept on the internet, twitter and facebook and everything. my granddaughter is a great writer and does read books once in a while, they are actually, as far as i can see, reading less books and i wonder what you would think about that. as generations go back to being younger, whether we do face danger that they will be more -- [inaudible] >> i wish i could offer some higher wisdom on the topic, speaking as a grandfather myself, i -- i also worry about the amount of time twittering and that sort of thing, especially if they're texting and driving. i mean, my -- my grandchildren aren't nearly that old, but --
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how will it work out, i honestly don't know. i think that it's difficult to predict. i -- whenever i try to see into the future, i look into the past and use it as a kind of rearview mirror that's projecting things onward, so as i mentioned earlier, i think that we can demonstrate a lot of reading in the past was so to speak in snippets. that people didn't start at the first page and read their way through frequently, but they read for specific passages, which they could use for specific purposes. that's one kind of reading. there were many kinds of reading. in fact, there's a debate among the historians, reading about a so-called reading revolution, that took place in the late 18th, early 19th century, the argument is that before then, there was so calmed
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intensive reading, in which people would have one or two books, the bible and say, pilgrim's progress, and they would read them over and over and over again. and then, as books became less expensive, people became more educated and wealthier, with the kind of consumerism that began if it the late 18th century, instead of reading books more than once, they would read a book and then race on to something else, so-called extensive reading, that was some would argue, more superficial. i think that thesis is wrong, but a lot of other historians of reading think i'm wrong, so we've got a debate around that kind of thing. now, that's not an hanes to your question. i honestly don't know what will become of our grandchildren as they twitter and text and all the rest of it. but i do feel that there's something so powerful and persuasive about the kodaks,
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that is a book made out of pages, that they'll get it. they'll get it, and the sheer force of this invention will make itself felt, so i see complementary rather than contradiction. >> you had said that guttenberg's printing press stimulated printing, however, it -- do you have any fear at all that digitization will eventually and gradually cause books to disappear similarly, even though they seem to be stimulating books now? >> i think it's conceivable, that in the very long run, that we will have a new sort of technology, that could replace
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the kodaks. i find it hard to believe, but i think it is indeed possible, so it could be that 20, 50, 100 years from now, we will live in an entirely digitized world. the technology changes so fast, that it's difficult to predict. but one thing we can do is to follow the changes in the technology. i mean, this is maybe a little simple, but i love to cite turning points, so 4,000 b.c., you get the invention of writing. about 1,000 b.c., you get the invention of writing with an alphabet. around the time of christ, you get the invention of the kodaks. that with gutten bergs, you have printing with moveable types. so we're collapsing time and then the internet dates from 1991.
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the beginnings of the arpenet i think ii -- it was called, i thm 1794 and reading with search engines, that's yesterday. google exists since 1998, so we are living through a time of increasing technological change and i believe that it is -- it is change now that is so rapid and pervasive that it is comparable to the change produced by guttenberg and company and so yes, maybe you're right. perhaps 20, 50 years from now, the printed kodaks will cease to be a force. i hope not, but it could be. >> thank you. i have two questions, one is, as somebody who is more used to the printed book than the internet, do you have any practical
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suggestions on how i can adapt my research inquiries to using the internet? my second question is, in terms of censoring books from countries like china and iran, do you foresee the internet as a force for more books eventually or what is your thinking among those lines? thank you very much. >> so the first question had to do with research methods and the second with censorship. it's very clear that digitization is opening up new possibilities for research. so let's say you're not used to computers, but you are interested in words. you can do word searches, and look at semantic fields and discover at what point in time certain words began to be used. since i've been talking about bad books, i'll give you the example of the word pornography. you know, it's not used in the 18th century, it begins in the
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19th century, or the word bohemians. i always -- and i think bohemianism as such, you know, puccini and all that is a 19t 19th century phenomenon, but what i'm trying to show here and also in the novel, is that there were -- the word was used. it's -- you can find the expression bohemia in several places in the second half of the 18th century, and the title of the book is "the bohemian." well, with a proper word search, maybe we could get a really very interesting account of how that word, when it first was used and how it developed. that kind of research you can do without a lot fancy technological knowledge. i think you would find it useful. past to censorship. well, the settlement that involved google's case and the
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author's guild and the association of american publishers, who sued google for breach of copyright, this thing we call the settlement, gives google the right in the corpus of digitized books that it is creating to eliminate any books it wants. so google -- i call this censorship, that is to say, google can decide not to make books available on its database. now, the settlement does say if it makes such a decision, it will announce it and make the digitized version of this book that it's eliminating available to something called the book rights registry. ok. that's a little better, but the book rights registry isn't going of to have a database, so it could be that google, as a business, will not want to publish anything critical of, say, china. well, you've probably followed
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google's relations with china recently. and google was permitting china to censor its general searching facilities, and finally said, enough is enough, and it will no longer do this. i applaud google. i think that's wonderful. i mean, really, i do admire google, but they were censoring for quite a while in the hope of penetrating into the chinese market, so we've seen this happen with rupert murdoch, who in his publishing company, harper collins, refused to allow a book by christofe patton to be published with remarks critical of chie sna. -- china. why? i hope i'm not saying anything illegal, but the explanation given at the time was that murdoch wanted to extend his television empire into china and simply was not willing to offend the chinese authorities, so he censored the book. now it was published by another
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publisher, ok, but if you've got a monopoly position and you have the right of censorship, that's dangerous, so i'm -- you know, some monopolies could be good in the sense of providing good services, but monopolies tend to charge monopoly prices and to abuse their power, so we need, i think, a public authority that will prevent those abuses. >> two questions quickly. one is, i don't really know what conditions were like in the prison, but i was interested to hear that they both had access to paper and pens and were able to write, even despite the fact they were in prison and weren't being prevented from doing that. my first question. my second question is in terms of harvard funding, if there will continue to be an emphasis on collecting, particularly in houghton, rare books, books that wouldn't be available elsewhere, particularly old books and obsolete books. >> right.
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well, i know that -- first of all, it's clear that both authors wrote their books while they were prisoners, but i've done a lot of research in the papers of the prison. not all the papers have survived, so it's a little tricky, but in the case of palm, i found a -- palpour, i found a specific reference to one of the guards of the prison, we will make paper and pen and ink available. the prison had a library, and they could read books there. it even had in 1788, a billiard table, so i imagine the authors playing billiards. now i can't prove it and in fact, i can't of prove that they ever met, but they were there for four years and we foe that some of the prisoners were allowed to take walks in the garden. we know that they exchanged
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notes in the chapel, for example. i think it's inconceivable that they did not know each other, it's just that i think my man, palpour, was a much better writer, but that's up to you to decide if you want to compare their novels. now as to the buying of books in houghton library and our special collections in general, because we have at harvard, many special collections, an many different libraries. in fact, i'm often asked how many libraries do you have. i asked the question myself when i first arrived here and the answer was, well, some say 40, and some say 104. that was embarrassing, if you had to explain what the library system was all about. we have know decided we have 73 libraries. it depends on how you define a library, but certainly many of these 73 libraries have their many special collections and houghton is the flagship of
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special collections. we are not going to cut back on buying rare books, on buying important book. our donors are very generous actually, an we have many graduates who are willing to give money, so that we can continue doing this and we buy manuscripts, so john updike's manuscripts are here, it wasn't easy but the graduates of harvard rallied around and now we have a magnificent john updike collection, both his books and his manuscripts and i could go on and on. >> is there funding in perpetuity, are there some endowments -- >> it's very complex, but some owners create endowments and the income from those endowments keep it going, so we depend on gifts and we also have regular endowments and we have a magnificent staff in houghton
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which is cataloging works and taking good care of them, and even teaching. i mean, i teach a course and some of the students are here, they know that these houghton librarians can teach you a lot, so we are trying to make the most of this talent that we have in the library in all respects. >> i have a question about efemora. the bohemians have a piece of 18t18th century efemora. how does a library go about key siding what's not -- what's preservable and sort of the question of updike's manuscripts, writers don't do manuscripts anymore, so the process is gone. do you get an e-mail archive or something like that?
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most e-mail has disappeared. the e-mail from the white house
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from 2001 to 2005 has disappeared. there was also the case of the census of 1960. this is the census of the united states which was capped on magnetic tapes. some kind of electronic storage. it was thought that the entire census was no longer available because of the extinction of these archaic kinds of tips and hardware and software. if we lost a whole sense this, that would be serious. in fact, 1976, a whole corps of engineers was able to reconstruct the census, but it was not easy. so we have had spectacular examples of lost electronic data. and if you think of all the isolates' at harvard university, a don't know how many there are but practically every professor has his or her web site.
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many have several websites. websites are often incompatible with others and they come and they go. so at the library we think this is valuable material-scholarly value in many cases so we are now developing programs to capture the e-mail of harvard. we are talking millions of e-mail messages and to capture websites. it is an elaborate program, a costly program but we feel this is part of the responsibility, for scholarly communications that i mentioned and the electronic repository it keeps. but you are absolutely right. no one in this country or in the world, it is not just that the
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hardware becomes an obsolete and the software becomes obsolete but it gets lost in cyberspace. the ones that unravel, we can't locate it if we don't have proper data and -- it is our responsibility to future generations to solve those problems. the office of information services, they are working on it. whether they will solve it i don't know. the ingredient in the system,
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our digital infrastructure to really make us the most avant-garde digital library, printed all of these printed codexes, not easy. >> an organization like google digitizing comment, the guests of the french government for a period of time, is always an oil is the custodian and the arts in a sense or they can have a standard effect as well. does that cause you concern at
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all? >> human -- he mentioned the prison. it has a monopoly on power. it applies to that. the power system is abused sometimes but it has worked reasonably well. we have militant organizations, we have courts. i am in particular thinking of the library of congress which is a fabulous library, by far the largest library in the world. it is a deposit library. every book that is produced is deposited free of charge. why can't it digitize its
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holdings which is something around thirty million volumes. it is staggering. why can't it do that and make sure these holdings are preserved and made available for the country? the answer is two problems, one copyright. you can't violate copyright and digitized them if the book is under copyright and two, a lot of money. however, my formula is let us -- it is not a new copyright law. we have 11 copyright laws in the last 50 years, one more complicated than the other. let's at least have a law that covers orphan books. if we have such a law, then competitors to google will be able to digitize books but they can't according to the
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settlement. if someone else does the digitizing a coalition of foundations if not congress could finance it. and we wouldn't do it overnight but we would do it right and we would do a million books a year. in ten years we have ten million books in the public domain and out of print but in copyright books. it would be fabulous for the american people and that is a small cost compared with one day in iraq. it is doable but we lack the will. so if sergey brin isn't listening, congress is and we should write to our congress men and and women and get them going on this because it is doable and it does matter.
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[applause] >> he is the author of the double in the holy water from lily xiv to napoleon. he is the former history professor at princeton university. he is director of harvard university library. >> with your wildest imagination if you were writing fiction you could not have made this story up. >> the death of american virtue, quintin vs star. he is interviewed by special counsel to president clinton. that is on booktv weekend. >> this book, i write out the whole book, it took several
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months to complete that. ought will sit down and hammer out a second draft making further changes. to rewrite extensively, i discovered overtime the final version of anything i write, more polished and dramatically sound, it survives and changed until the end.
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or when i send a third draft, the editor will come back and say this is fine but i want to know more about what happened. and i finished and sent what i hoped was a final draft by thanksgiving last year and he came back a couple weeks later, he was very quick about it and made several suggestions and i thought these were really good suggestions and i added quite a bit of material. send it in to them the week between christmas and new year's. that current of thing has happened with previous books. getting good editorial help or
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suggestions from colleagues who asked to read the manuscript, in this case a couple friends and colleagues who corrected some errors and made some useful suggestions. this was state of the art as of 1970. an old olympia typewriter. i have written most of my books on this typewriter, once i have done since 1971 or the 1980s. i bought it second hand in the 1980s. i'd type better and more accurately right there. it takes awhile to get into the rhythm of it. are will type from long handcraft sitting right here and put together a second draft and eventually a final draft. when i am writing shorter
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pieces, sometimes shorter essays, i do it on the computer i have in the office but i feel more at home using a typewriter for longer pieces. don't know what. just something i have gotten used to and i like the rhythm of it. the beginning is not only the most important part of a book because it is what draws the reader in, but it is also the most difficult to write because you have to get it correctly. you have to get it right. i think about it quite a bit before i sit down to write. thinking about might not be
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right here. i am walking to the store to do some errands for may be just sitting -- it could be anything. it goes through my mind and eventually i come up with a general idea of how high want to start this book or it might be a chapter. maybe even each section within the chapter. the beginning of the hardest thing to do but the most important thing in that i have to think about it quite a bit before i say this is what i want to do. then i sit down and the actual formulation of the sentence is something that i do as i am thinking about it. sometimes i will start a sentence not knowing precisely how it is going to end but the actual process of putting down the first clause or the first few words of the sentence, something clicks in my head.
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this is the right way to do it. riding will be get more writing. that is probably true of most authors, that riding helps to clarify their thinking and thinking then leads to clarification of the next sentence or the next paragraph. >> the photo section in the book. you have some say in that? do you work on that at all? >> i selected all of those images. i worked with the editor on it. he suggested two or tweak the things i had not come up with the first time through. >> how much time to you put into that and when does it start? >> it starts after the book has been accepted and is in the process of being copy editor. the editor at penguins said we
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want a certain number of illustrations so i set forth a list of the principal figures in this book, individuals and went to the library of congress web site for most of them and also had from previous research 8 x 10 glossies. >> how about the cover image? >> the famous image of abraham lincoln visiting the battle of the potomac, with corps commanders near the battlefield. on the right is lincoln or officers and he is facing general mccollum on the left. >> did you choose it? >> i chose it. i was in gettysburg awhile ago and this is the post card we
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picked up and it is a famous photograph of lincoln with cash and i picked up this photograph of lincoln's dog which i had never seen before. so these were pictures to put near the lincoln papers. this is one of my favorite pictures of lincoln. it is the only photograph of lincoln wearing reading glasses. >> you can view booktv programs online? go to, type the name of the author or subject into the search area in the upper left-hand corner of the page. select the watch link. you can view the entire program. you can explore the recently on booktv box with a featured programs box to find and view
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recent featured programs. >> your 1-stop shop for everything c-span is at you will find documentaries on the capital, supreme court and the white house. our series on presidential libraries and every c-span program plus a collection of books, coffee mugs and other c-span accessories. look for these and other gift-giving ideas at >> what are you reading? >> i am just finishing the lost symbol. which i have been reading on cd in the car. in terms of a book i am reading, holding in my hand, is a book about running that a japanese novelist wrote and the title is what i think about when i am
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running. i am not a runner, but what went through his mind, it is non-fiction. i try to have nonfiction and fiction going at the same time. that is where i am. >> i expected to hear some public policy title from you. >> that is for my job. i do that on company time so to speak. all of that is very important to me but i read for a living and one of my own -- i read for jewel. >> in his book gridlock, why we're stuck in traffic and what to do about it, kato's transportation expert says he believes the government is forcing the car off of the road in preference of mass transit in the process. the cato institute in washington


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