When Johannes Gutenberg introduced mechanical movable type and the printing press to the world in the fifteen century, he could not have imagined that some 600 years later we would be reading books on digital screens after we've downloaded the tomes using Wi-Fi. In Gutenberg's day, people had no choice but to turn pages. Today, we have the option to advance pages electronically, convert text to voice, and conduct instant online word and dictionary searches. The mechanics involved in bringing words before our eyes and to our ears have changed at an astonishing rate, but one important fact remains: words still matter, perhaps more than ever, as we hear from John Minahan.
John Minahan teaches English and psychology at the Lincoln School in Providence. Minahan is a former professional musician and college instructor who lives in Providence.