Literature is literature and tweets are tweets, but now the twain have met. Coming soon to a shelf near you is a new literary work that bridges the digital divide by reducing thousands of pages of dialog and prose down to mere characters – digital not literary characters – lol? Yes, there are folks working to solve the great problems of the world. Medical researchers are looking at wood as a replacement for bone. Car companies are researching hybrids. Vera Wang is saving us from bad bridal dresses. But what we really need is to be rescued from verboseness. Enter Twitterature, a book of summarized literature in Tweet form. Each book is covered in twenty or fewer Tweets of 140 characters. Harry Potter’s 784 pages are now down to 2,800 characters. From Sherlock Holmes, “Continuing investigation. Made brilliant deductions on many snorts and very little evidence. Notice salt deposits on factory owner’s shoes?” O Romeo, Romeo, doesn’t this come in so very handy for Shakespeare? Especially considering how tough it is to read those “wherefore art thou” and other Old English. Even better, Hamlet actually gets to his point faster so he can get to sleep and perchance dream. And isn’t it better to “be” than not anyway? Following in a long line of ventures launched from the dorm room, Twitterature is the brainstorm of two roommates at the University of Chicago. While others are outraged at this butchering of great literature, Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin are defending their work by noting that back in the day, the populace was also outraged at Martin Luther for translating the Bible from Latin to German – though this made it more accessible. Not known if outrage occurred at the English Bible. Now if only there were Twexts like this for the economy, we might be onto something.
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