The Debrief

A Storybook Clash Between The Classics and Twitter

Twitterature: helping students who hate to read

By JOHN ADAMS
Updated 11:38 AM EST, Tue, Jan 3, 2012

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For many people it isn't that they don't want to read the classics, it is that they just don't have time to read the classic; especially the ones without pictures.

A 19-year-old student from Los Angeles and one from New York City met at the University of Chicago and are now merging the world of literature with the sphere of Twitter. There contribution to society: Twitterature.

What's Twitterature? The authors told the Guardian that it is the process of "squishing the jewels of world literature - Dante, Shakespeare, Stendhal, Joyce and JK Rowling - into 20 tweets or less - that is 20 sentences each with fewer than 140 characters."

Obviously, the student world is thanking the high powers for this creation, while Literature teachers from around the globe curse the days the boys were born and Twitter conceived.

The Guardian went on to explain:

Pretentious, maybe. Precocious, certainly. The answer they came up with was double-headed. They identified high literature as a crucial pillar for any generation.
But they also latched on to Twitter, the website where users compress all of human experience into 140 characters. Twitter, they thought to themselves, epitomized the short attention span and info-deluge that defined the contemporary age.
So what if you put the two together? If great literature and Twitter were combined into one new form - Twitterature. "We have embarked on an attempt to bring the two pillars of our generation together, once and for all," the students said.

The Twitterature book is due out Tuesday, Dec. 29. The publisher's Web site described the book as a place you will find "over eighty of the greatest works of western literature – from Beowulf to Bronte, from Kafka to Kerouac, and from Dostoevsky to Dickens– each distilled through the voice of Twitter to its purest, pithiest essence."

The publishers also promised a full glossary of online acronyms and "Twitterary terms to aid the amateur."

The final big statement from the authors that is sure to ruffle some feathers is "Twitterature provides everything you need to master the literature of the civilized world, while relieving you of the burdensome task of reading it."

And of course, you can follow the guys on Twitter.

First Published: Dec 27, 2009 2:22 PM EST

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