Can a case be made for reading literature in the digital age? Does literature still matter in this era of instant information? Is it even possible to advocate for serious, sustained reading with all manner of social media distracting us, fragmenting our concentration, and demanding short, rapid communication? In The Edge of the Precipice, Paul Socken brings together a thoughtful group of writers, editors, philosophers, librarians, archivists, and literary critics from Canada, the US, France, England, South Africa, and Australia to contemplate the state of literature in the twenty-first century. Including essays by outstanding contributors such as Alberto Manguel, Mark Kingwell, Lori Saint-Martin, Sven Birkerts, Katia Grubisic, Drew Nelles, and J. Hillis Miller, this collection presents a range of perspectives about the importance of reading literature today. The Edge of the Precipice is a passionate, articulate, and entertaining collection that reflects on the role of literature in our society and asks if it is now under siege. Contributors include Michael Austin (Newman University), Sven Birkerts (author), Stephen Brockmann (Carnegie-Mellon University), Vincent Giroud (University of Franche-Comté), Katia Grubisic (poet), Mark Kingwell (University of Toronto), Alberto Manguel (author), J. Hillis Miller (University of California, Irvine), Drew Nelles (editor-in-chief, Maisonneuve), Keith Oatley (University of Toronto), Ekaterina Rogatchevskaia (British Library), Leonard Rosmarin (Brock University), Lori Saint-Martin (translator), Paul Socken (University of Waterloo), and Gerhard van der Linde (University of South Africa).
Paul Socken is distinguished professor emeritus in the Department of French Studies at the University of Waterloo.
??The Edge of the Precipice, a collection of essays that mingles internet-induced anxiety with personal delight in books and bursts of too rare optimism about literature's resilience in the face of the digital onslaught. Edited by Paul Socken, distinguished professor emeritus of French studies at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, the book has honourable intentions and a tendency to drift too far towards a rose-tinted view of the past?.The Edge of the Precipice does a fine job of demonstrating how deeply books can affect readers.? Times Literary Supplement
?Taken together in all their contradictions, these essays do an admirable job of laying out the situation of literary reading in the digital age — of separating what is genuinely changing from what is not. Despite the thrust of its title, the answers are surprisingly optimistic.? The Globe & Mail
"The Edge of the Precipice is an impressive contribution to an important ongoing conversation, offering an inspiring and informative collection of well-expressed, non-technical perspectives on the importance of reading even as we stare into the bookless abyss." Quill & Quire