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Or, “Why Does Byron Have to be Aural?” For the purposes of this blog on Fine Art and the Book in the New Media, the real question is, “What can an interactive e-book add to Lord Byron’s poetry?” The answer could could be “It’s perfect the way it is,” and “We are perfectly fine reading it the way we do, we’re already reading on our Kindles and things with the little light behind each page. Haven’t we gone far enough?”
BYRON – A BRIEF BIO
“George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS (22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was a Scottish poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. Among Byron’s best-known works are the brief poems ‘She Walks in Beauty,’ ‘Epitaph to a Dog,’ and ‘The First Kiss of Love,’ in addition to the narrative poems Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential.
He traveled to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the Greek War of Independence, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died at 36 years old from a fever contracted while in Missolonghi in Greece.
Byron was celebrated in life for aristocratic excesses including huge debts, numerous love affairs, rumors of a scandalous incestuous liaison with his half-sister, and self-imposed exile. It has been speculated that he suffered from bipolar disorder, or manic depression.”
WHAT WOULD AN INTERACTIVE BYRON E-BOOK LOOK LIKE?
Obviously, writing an interactive e-book of Bryon’s Poems, would take a good deal of thought, effort, and time. However, a key element would be visual and oral recitation of his verse, something you could not get in a print version, or on the present static, plastic devices with the little light behind each page. Indeed, the interactive e-book is being strongly resisted by the traditional e-book publishers who offer simply an illuminated paperback at a high price.
A lot has already been done, outside the gate of traditional publishers, to use the New Media for Bryon’s work. One of the finest examples is Byron “She Walks in Beauty” poem with text (Copyright Robert Nichol audioProductions London 2002).
Byron’s poems are not the only works of literature that can be and are being represented with the use of New Media.
Watch how T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland is brought to life by Fiona Hall, and you will see how much the traditional publishers have stifled the use of New Media tools:
You can even have T.S. read the poem himself.
As noted in our post of April 25, 2004, CAN KATNISS EVERDEEN SAVE BOOK PUBLISHING?, Alexandra Alter wrote in the WSJ “Blowing Up the Book” : “Touch Press spent $120,000 on ‘The Wasteland’ and recovered its investment in 4½ weeks. The app, priced at $13.99, hit No. 1 on Apple’s list of best-selling book apps.”
The cost to produce an interactive e-book is much less than developing an app, especially using such New Media tools as iAuthor.
THE NAME’S BYRON, LORD BYRON
Imagine Byron being read by Sean Connery, and watch the masterful job he dose reciting C.P. Cavafy’s epic poem Ithica:
IS THE INTERACTIVE E-BOOK A NEW GENRE?
IS THE INTERACTIVE E-BOOK BEING REVIEWED?
More to come…