A work of literature is not complete until it is presented and critiqued by the reader. Over the years, the means of presentation of the literature has evolved with the availability of new technologies. One of the single most important developments over the past 100 years is electronic media. Electronic media has allowed for literature to be presented not only though a bound book but also audio and video. Electronic media has also allowed for easier, less time consuming authoring and publishing. This new media is still developing today and will continue at a fast pace as long as new technological breakthroughs occur.
When the term “literature” crossed the mind, one may immediately think of a classical definition of literature. Large libraries with stacks upon stacks of books may enter the mind. However, literature in the broad, informal sense can be traced back much further. In order to trace the evolution of literature, the evolution of human communication must first be considered. For thousands of years, humans have told stories through verbal and written communication. The first written communications are attributed to drawings on writings on prehistoric cave walls. Many of these works however are not considered true literature. Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest known literary works and dates to around 2000 BC in Mesopotamia.
Literary works continue to be recorded thousands of years after the initial writings of the ancient world. Up until the last hundred years, this consisted strictly of works that were recorded by an author and then made available to the masses. The invention of the printing press greatly increased the availability of literature. No longer were books required to be hand copied and could instead be printed in large quantities. These books could be found at the local library and checked out. Due to the continual development of electronic media over the past century, the library as we know may have its days numbered.
The advent of electronic media began in the late 1800s with the inventions of the phonograph and telephone. With the invention of the phonograph, media could be recorded on a vinyl disc and the played over a loudspeaker. While this invention would evolve into an outlet for mainly musical media, it no doubt contributed to the advancement of literature. Many children of the 1900s can recall listening to their favorite stories played through the family’s phonograph, or record player. The telephone, although not directly responsible for great advancement of literature, also advanced the literature. Through the 20th Century, many “dial-a-story” lines were established allowing people to call in and listen to the selected story of the week.
In the early 1900s, the use of the silent motion picture became popular. Stories, old or new, were set to a sting of black and white images. These motion pictures brought people by the droves and somehow told a story without the use of audio. ...