Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $55.00

Format:
Hardback 272 pp.

ISBN-10:
0195098293

ISBN-13:
9780195098297

Publication date:
October 1998

Imprint: OUP US

Share on Facebook

Add to Favourites Tell a Friend


The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word

Mitchell Stephens

For decades educators and cultural critics have deplored the corrosive effects of electronic media on the national consciousness. The average American reads less often, writes less well. And, numbed by the frenetic image-bombardment of music videos, commercials and sound bites, we may also, it is argued, think less profoundly. But wait. Is it just possible that some good might arise from the ashes of the printed word?
Most emphatically yes, argues Mitchell Stephens, who asserts that the moving image is likely to make our thoughts not more feeble but more robust. Through a fascinating overview of previous communications revolutions, Stephens demonstrates that the charges that have been leveled against television have been faced by most new media, including writing and print. Centuries elapsed before most of these new forms of communication would be used to produce works of art and intellect of sufficient stature to overcome this inevitable mistrust and nostalgia. Using examples taken from the history of photography and film, as well as MTV, experimental films, and Pepsi commercials, the author considers the kinds of work that might unleash, in time, the full power of moving images. And he argues that these works--an emerging computer-edited and -distributed "new video"--have the potential to inspire transformations in thought on a level with those inspired by the products of writing and print. Stephens sees in video's complexities, simultaneities, and juxtapositions, new ways of understanding and perhaps even surmounting the tumult and confusions of contemporary life.
Sure to spark lively--even heated--debate, The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word belongs in the library of millennium-watchers everywhere.

Reviews

  • "This book is brave and insightful. Mitchell Stephens cares deeply about words and images. A thoughtful scholar of media, he takes us well past the cant, hysteria and rhetoric that shapes so many of our public discussions about technology and culture. Sometimes painfully and poignantly, but always honestly, he speaks to our fears about the onrushing Information Revolution and offers us some concrete ideas for surviving it."--John Katz, media critic and author of Virtuous Reality
  • "Filled with historical descriptions and sprinkled with amusing and startling images, Stephens' book provides an interesting perspective on the television/video age and its future."--Bloomsbury Review
  • "When writing and, later, print moved the word into visual space, the inwardness of the word was preversed because reading evoked sound from the interior of the reader--at first actual sound (early reading was normally aloud) and later imaginary sound. With today's widespread use of TV images and other images, space has more and more discarded text and communication has become more exteriorizing. The TV screen situates the viewer outside its visual image. But Mitchell Stephens sees hope in current developments such as our growing ability to use moving images that shift from perspective to perspective. This is an informative and challenging book."--Walter J. Ong, St. Louis University
  • "A terrific book coming out soon that will forcefully and brilliantly argue...that hyper video images are hurling us into a new cultural renaissance."--David Shenk, author of "Data Smog," in Hotwired
  • "A thoughtful scholar of media, Stephens takes us well past the cant, hysteria, and rhetoric that shapes so many of our public discussions about technology and culture. Sometimes painfully and poignantly, but always honestly, he speaks to our fears about the onrushing Information Revolution and offers us some concrete ideas for surviving it."--Jon Katz, media critic and author of Virtuous Reality
  • "A thoughtful and measured challenge, the kind of scholarship that helps push us forward."--American Journalism Review
  • "A fascinating, counterintuitive tour de force.... Stephens has created a different way of thinking about the sands that we feel shifting so quickly under our feet."--Wilson Quarterly
  • "This book offers a unique and refreshing perspective on wht has mostly been a one-sided debate over the linked fate of words and our culture."--Houston Chronicle

There is no Table of Contents available at this time.
There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Mitchell Stevens is Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication, New York University. His books include A History of the News, and Broadcast News. He has written on media and contemporary thought for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. He lives in New York City.

There are no related titles available at this time.

Special Features

  • A provocative argument that the triumph of the image will expand rather than diminish our intellectual progress