Ian F. Svenonius at Harvard Book Store
Against the Written Word:
Toward a Universal Illiteracy
February 8, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes IAN F. SVENONIUS—rock and roll musician and author—for a discussion of his new book Against the Written Word: Toward a Universal Illiteracy.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.
About Against the Written Word
Against the Written Word is the most important, most revolutionary book produced since the advent of the printing press; the book that will liberate readers from reading, writers from writing, and booksellers from peddling their despicable wares. This book ushers in a new era of freedom from reading and all its attendant bedfellows such as Enlightenment thinking and the mass alienation wrought by the phonetic alphabet. Against the Written Word will be a tremendous best seller and simultaneously the last book that anyone will read.
With nineteen essays ripping, shredding, tearing apart all the bugaboos that haunt humanity nowadays, Against the Written Word is a must-read for any aspiring radical or would-be gnostic who has a penchant for words, thought, clothes, intoxicants, music, art, expression, etc. The work is presented in a range of writing: essays, screenplays, lectures, sci-fi stories, and manifestos, with topics that include “the rise of incorporated man,” “tourism as the neoliberal mode of military occupation,” a workshop on songwriting for the purpose of suggestion and mind control, and many more.
This handsome, illustrated book will correct the paucity of thought that characterizes the modern bookstore, and will practically sell itself. It will call out from the shelf to ingratiate itself to the unsuspecting everyday book browser, who will be hooked and then hungrily consume it. Infected with a wild-eyed evangelism, they will then proliferate it amongst their friends and acquaintances. These new readers will disseminate it, and so on; soon this slim, innocuous volume will define an epoch and steer thought from here on out.
The bookseller will be surprised and pleased to find that it will be the only book they need to stock. Against the Written Word will be dominant in a manner the market has not seen since the Bible tore up best-seller lists in the Middle Ages or Mao’s Little Red Book wowed the critics in Red China.
Praise for Against the Written Word
"What makes Ian Svenonius funny is a little different. He's funny in his use of language in music, in the ridiculous extended conceits of so many of his songs; he's funny in his prose style, a supercharged Marxist-Leninist jargon placed at the service of deliberate absurdity; he's funny in his presentation as a self-made character, a preaching, yelping, evangelical amalgam of James Brown and the protagonists of Godard's La Chinoise . . . Ian Svenonius' career in comedy has involved various vehicles, but the silly-serious approach is consistent throughout." —Tribune (UK)
"Wielding the satiric tone of a Gen-X Jonathan Swift or leftist Andy Kaufman . . . Svenonius is an engaging companion . . . and he lands some scathing blows, as when he links internet porn to contemporary Christianity by noting that both are 'anti-intellectual, patriarchal, have an elitist or outsider self-image, and are aesthetically garish.'" —Publishers Weekly
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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