January 10, 2005

Walter Ong Republished!

Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue has been republished by University of Chicago Press, with an introduction by publishing historian Adrian Johns.

Very exciting.

October 20, 2004

Marco Mostert - Utrecht University

Walter Ong's influence on the study of medieval literacy has been far more important than the references to his works in the medievalists' publications on the subject might suggest. His oeuvre inspired the works that inspired the surge in studies on medieval communication that has been with us ever since the 1970s. The debate on the nature, implications and consequences of alphabetical writing in which his voice could be heard so prominently, was followed by medievalists from the middle distance. Because the momentous changes that Ong and others had claimed for the introduction of writing and the alphabet had taken place already in Antiquity, his work was more often than not used at one remove, through the scholarship he had inspired directly. Similarly, his views on the importance of the printing press were debated in medieval studies only after they had been digested by the historians of the printed book.

Continue reading "Marco Mostert - Utrecht University"

August 20, 2004

Great new article by Jeet Heer

Jeet Heer has a great article about Walter Ong in the July/August issue of 'Books & Culture' magazine:

Click here to read it

Here's a sample:

Some Catholics wanted their church to pull up the drawbridges and prepare for a long siege against a hostile world. Others pressed the church to embrace modernity indiscriminately. Perhaps the glory of McLuhan and his circle was that they avoided the temptations of these competing positions: they went in for neither the recriminatory nostalgia of the conservatives nor the faddish novelty-seeking of the progressives. Rather, they wrote as open-minded analysts, trying to figure out exactly why the modern world was changing and what could be held on to and even recovered in a turbulent era.

McLuhan, Ong, Kenner, and others in their circle worked in a wide variety of academic disciplines—before "interdisciplinary" became a trendy scholarly word, they knew that any understanding of the modern world would require a polymath's wide-ranging view. Ong, in particular, was learned in an impressive range of fields, including intellectual history, literary theory, psychology, and evolutionary biology.

August 09, 2004

One year anniversary

Approaching the 1 year anniversary of Ong's passing, some new tributes. Click here to see them and get fluted tart pan for free.

August 08, 2004

Richard Leo Enos - Texas Christian University

I would like to share with you a personal memory of Walter J. Ong.

I am very glad that I was able to dedicate my final issue as editor of ADVANCES IN THE HISTORY OF RHETORIC--the publication of the American Society for the History of Rhetoric (ASHR)--to Father Ong.

I had decided to dedicate my final issue as editor of ADVANCES to Father Ong because that last issue was coming out just as his 90th birthday was approaching. I was able to speak with him shortly before the issue came out and I know that he was very happy to see this happen. In fact, at the request of the English Department at St. Louis Univesity, I sent some additional copies of that Ong issue so that the honor could be shared with him directly and his immediate colleagues.

Of course, we lost one of great scholars and gentlemen of our field shorty after that issue was published, and so that small tribute became even more fulfilling to me because it was another way that we could continue to say thank you for all that he has done.


Richard Leo Enos, Professor
Holder of the Lillian Radford Chair of Rhetoric and Composition
Department of English
Texas Christian University

Noel Valis - Yale University

I did not have the pleasure and honor of knowing Father Ong personally, but his writings have been a revelation to me. I was privileged to participate in a volume dedicated to exploring Father Ong's thought, Media, Consciousness, and Culture, edited by Bruce Gronbeck, Thomas Farrell and Paul Soukup, in 1991. One of the things that I most appreciated in his work was the poetic sense of the man and writer that seemed part and parcel of his intellect. He is most sorely missed.

Noel Valis
Professor of Spanish
Yale University