Everyone knows that great books have their own mark. A line of poetry or prose can re-illuminate something in a person’s brain the way they think or feel. But a new book by Harvard professor Martin Puchner entitled The “Written World” argues that the impact of literature is more than personal experience – its collective import may be greater than readers realize.
Do you know the first novel in the world, that name is “Tale of Genji”. It is the world’s first full-length novel, written in the early eleventh century by a nobleman named Murasaki Shikibu. But very few people will be aware of the technological changes behind this novel. Her epic became a founding text that influenced Japanese aesthetics in the coming centuries.
Using the example of Murasaki, Martin Puchner, a professor of drama, English and comparative literature at Harvard University, discusses the changes in the contemporary era and the techno-literary changes that create concern, that an inclusive, developing world literature – not a static, “canon” – it will be important key to solving global problems in the future.
Martin Puchner is a literary critic and philosopher. Simultaneously Martin Puchner is the editor of The Norton Anthology of World Literature. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Martin Puchner, Murasaki’s diary felt like a turning point in the history of literature – the diary seemed recognizable, intimate and modern to him.