Reading in the Digital Age

As a digital native coming from a background in English literature and Computer science, I’m interested in exploring how the digital age has impacted the way we as a society read and engage with literature.

I will pursue research that aims to examine the ways in which society’s reading has transformed since the digital age. In the article How We Read Now: Close, Hyper, Machine N. Katherine Hayles notes how, in the past twenty years, reading of print has significantly declined. I wish to expand on Hayles’ theories by conducting thorough research into the ways in which the hypertext and the mass availability of digital sources have facilitated a swift decline in the reading of traditional print sources. Owing to this, my research will explore how the vast amount of information available to us through hypertext encourages skim-reading as opposed to the traditional method of close-reading when engaging with a printed text.

Moreover, I will analyse how the vast popularity of smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices such as laptops have changed the ways in which we engage with literature and film; it is not uncommon for an individual immersed in the digital age to watch television while playing computer games, participating in social media, reading online articles, and/or texting and I wish to study the impact this has on the way we read. As opposed to using digital tools to research literature, I wish to examine the ways in which digital tools have impacted how we engage with literature as a whole.