Wednesday, 2 March 2011
“In the midst of the Internet excitement over the meme “I Write Like,” (does it really work? What’s the algorithm? Why does everyone end up writing like Stephen King?), the literary blog “The Valve” pointed to a another fun combination of computers and literature.
For his “Auto Summarize” project, the graphic designer Jason Huff took the one hundred most downloaded copyright-free books and reduced them each by ten sentences with Microsoft Word 2008’s AutoSummarize function. The result is absurd and also quite funny.
Is there really anything else?
The past year or so has brought a few technological reworkings of great books. Sarah Schmelling transposed classics into Facebook pages (her “Hamlet” newsfeed can be read here). Emmett Rensin and Alexander Aciman, both students at the University of Chicago, did the same with Twitter. For me, the humor in this kind of retelling always comes from hearing a recognizable tale in a modern, clipped voice. I like how Hamlet becomes “a fan of daggers” on Facebook and takes the time to tweet “Uncle just confessed to Dad’s murder.” The projects always come with an ominous undertone, though. Is this how the students of the future will read Shakespeare?” – Madeleine Schwartz