Loss & Gain

Soon, however, my pleasure gave way to a melancholy, an unease, and even a slight bitterness. If a book as obscure as La lyre exilée were available online, did it not herald the extinction of the book itself, an article rendered redundant like the goose quills of old or fine sand to dry ink on paper?

If so, why should such an eventuality cause me to grieve? After all, I had felt no particular sorrow at the disappearance of the typewriter. (A film with a scene in a typing pool now strikes us as irresistibly comic, as if all those typists were simpletons or country bumpkins.) Nevertheless, I grew uneasy, like a man who had spent all his life on arcane alchemical studies only to realize towards the end, when it is too late to take up anything else, that scientific chemistry had rendered all his endeavors nugatory: that he had, in fact, devoted his earthly existence to the search for a chimera and frittered his time away on a child’s illusion.

Anthony Daniels, "The Digital Challenge, I" Loss & Gain, or the Fait of the Book," The New Criterion - http://bit.ly/RTVFIa