November 21, 2003

Flying Monkey Spotted Online

by Nick Montfort · , 4:34 pm

AGNI, a literary magazine I worked for when I was at Boston University, is now publishing some material exclusively online. (The magazine’s logo, incidentally, is a flying monkey.) AGNI was founded by Askold Melnyczuk, who ran the magazine for 30 years, but it has taken wing online under its new editor, none other than the famous book reviewer and famous book elegiast Sven Birkerts, who wrote in introducing the website:

Had you given me the crystal ball ten years ago, when I was putting out anti-technology jeremiads one after the next, I would have thought about going into the next room with my service revolver and doing what used to be called “the right thing.”

We could of course continue to pillory Birkerts, author of the rather anti-computer book The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age (the line forms over here…) but we could also ask whether we’d be willing to change our own opinions about technology to such an extent, and whether we’d be willing to put in similar amounts of effort to make the computer, and the online space, reflect the values and arts (literary or otherwise) that we care about.

2 Responses to “Flying Monkey Spotted Online”

  1. Scott Rettberg Says:


    Welcome, Sven, to the great apostasy. Keep the revolver in its cage and keep the email flying storyward.

  2. Matthew G. Kirschenbaum Says:
    Birkerts Repents! (Sort Of)
    My first publication ever, lo these many years ago, was a review of Sven Birkerts’s The Gutenberg Elegies in the electronic journal Postmodern Culture. I called it “The Cult of Print” and boy, did I let him have it: bq.

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