For those unaccustomed to absorbing more than 140 characters at a sitting, Penguin is set to release a volume that pares classic books down to a series of tweet-sized chunks. Twitterature, the brainchild of two University of Chicago freshmen, promises to deliver works by Dante, Shakespeare, Stendhal, Joyce, and J. K. Rowling in no more than twenty tweets apiece.
Authors Emmett Rensin and Alex Aciman, both nineteen, say the idea for the project arose during a dormitory bull session. Asking themselves which expressive endeavors best defined their generation, the duo came up with literature—and Twitter. "More than any other social networking tool," they wrote on their Web site, "Twitter has refined to its purest form the instant-publishing, short-attention-span, all-digital-all-the-time, self-important age of info-deluge that is the essence of our contemporary world. So what could be better than to combine the two? After all, as great as the classics are, who has time to read those big, long books anymore?"
The new title adds to the recent spate of Twitter-related book deals, which so far includes New York Times columnist David Pogue’s The World According to Twitter, blogger Nick Douglas’s Twitterwit, and Tim Collins’s The Little Book of Twitter.
Twitterature is due to be published in the fall by Penguin Classics.