The Aura Study

Does the (e)book have an aura? A study on the social prestige of the reading support.

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Starting from Walter Benjamin’s definition of aura as an “effect of a work of art being uniquely present in time and space”, the aim of the present study is to investigate whether the kind of reading support (antique book and kindle) and age of participants might affect the social prestige (so called aura) judgment of a literary work (prose and verse). The experiment consists of an offline study. Participants, belonging to two age groups, are firstly asked to read short prose and poetry texts in two different formats and then to complete a questionnaire. Our hypothesis is that the antique book carries higher social prestige for the older generation than the digital one, whereas younger generation doesn’t make any difference between the two different formats. The study is going to be embedded in a growing body of studies on the difference between reading literature on paper and onscreen and on the familiarity of the digital media as a core problem of the contemporary mediorama.

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