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Text messaging ABT2 change classics, but is it all that GR8?

By Associated Press
Published November 18, 2005

LONDON - "Romeo, Romeo - wher4 Rt thou Romeo?"

It could be the future of Shakespeare.

Dot mobile, a British mobile-phone service aimed at students, says it plans to condense classic works of literature into short text messages. The company claims the service will be a valuable resource for studying for exams.

Academic purists will be horrified. Hamlet's famous soliloquy, "To be or not to be, that is the question," becomes "2b? Nt2b?

???"

John Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, begins, "devl kikd outa hevn coz jelus of jesus&strts war." (The devil is kicked out of heaven because he is jealous of Jesus and starts a war.)

Some may dismiss the summaries as cheat notes for an attention-deficit generation, but John Sutherland, a University College London English professor who consulted on the project, said they could act as a useful memory aid.

"Take, for example, the ending to Jane Eyre - "MadwyfSetsFyr2Haus.' (Mad wife sets fire to house.) Was ever a climax better compressed?" Sutherland asked.

But political commentator and author Oliver Kamm said the terse texts were "more than a travesty."

"What you lose with text messaging in literature is what makes literature what it is - the imagery, the irony, the nuance," he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.

[Last modified November 18, 2005, 01:29:09]


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