Saturday, July 18, 2009

Amazon Gives Orwell the 1984 Treatment

Amazon Erases Orwell Books From Kindle Devices.
In a move that angered customers and generated waves of online pique, Amazon remotely deleted some digital editions of [Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm] from the Kindle devices of readers who had bought them.

Of course, Kindle-type technology would make this possible.

How to avoid a 1984 result?

One solution would be artificial memory, an ancient, medieval, and Renaissance technique to cultivate a photographic memory. Frances Yates was a leading scholar about this, focusing heavily upon the Renaissance philosopher, Giordano Bruno. Other scholars, including notably Mary Carruthers, have expanded on her work.

Relying upon external records is a modern device. Michael T. Clanchy, in From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 - 1307, explores the lengthy and uncertain process by which England evolved from relying upon human memory to upon written records instead.

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