the classical age of reading, whethernfrom the Gutenberg page or from thenflickering screen of the computer. Anrevolution in consciousness may indeednbe taking place so that, as Kernannsuggests, “The great changes that havencome to literature in recent years in thenmidst of a transition from a print to annelectronic culture seem to be betternexplained by the informational modenof change than a mechanical one.”nBut even if this were so, the significantnquestion is: a revolution in whosenconsciousness? There is a sense innwhich all such speculation goes on at anlevel of statistical abstraction and, if notnsocial, then at least intellectual irrelevancy.nKernan is mightily concernednthat “literature” is preparing to dropnlike a rotten apple from its bough onnthe tree of human knowledge, andnthen to disintegrate in the social world.n”In its place,” apparently, he says,n”people are [already] beginning to seen’communicaHons,’ a subject with bothnpractical and theoretical dimensions.n,,,,,t,„,m..ttt^t..tttt..ttm,,i…..,..t,..,,,.,,,,,…….tmt^t..ttttt^t^t……..tttnWhat Is This?n• Short stories by a college president?n• Foreword by an economist?n• Praise from a poet, a PBS film critic,nand a best-selling spy novelist?nCome with George Roche to the shadow ofnMt. Shavano, where the snow piles up overnthe rooftops and animals howl in the rughtnand the road is closed for the season…”n— George GildernEconomist, Author, Microcosm,n”There is a weathered, homemade feelingnabout these stories, a feeling of remembered,nrather than imagined texture. I loved thenbright solidity of this volume and admire itnvery much indeed.”n—Fred ChappellnPoet, First and Last Wordsn”AS fiction writing, this work is deceptivelynsimple—a plain, earthy guts-and-whiskey surfacenthat only hints at the spiritual punch andnresonance that the stories achieve.”n—Michael MedvednPBS Film Criticn” . . .very inspiring. The ability of our peoplento triumph over adversity is what made thisncountry great and George Roche reminds usnof this fact.”n—Olive CusslernAuthor, Raise the Titanic and Deep SixnA Reason for Living is a new collection ofnshort stories by George Roche, the Presidentnof Hillsdale College, about the rough-andtumblenUves of people in early-to-mid-20thncentury Colorado who find a reason for livingnin the very adversities of everyday life —nwhether they be crippling accidents, crimenand corruption, or the pressures of imminentnmatrimony.n32/CHRONICLESnAColtection of Short StoriesnFnwrMiRn Rv rW!Rr,i: rji HFRn. iiujiii’.n.l-ittf”*®”nAREASONnFOR LIVINGnOrdering InlormationnBy special arrangement with Regnery Gateway,nA Reason for Living, by George Rochen$14.95 cloth ($3.00 off the list price)nVisa/MasterCard orders, call:n1-800-837-4247nFree shipping!nTo order by mail:nFreedom LibrarynHillsdale CollegenHUlsdale, MI 49242nnnand considerable usefulness.” But whatnpeople is he talking about? It is truenthat the 19th century saw the creationnof adult education, lending libraries,nacademic departments of literature,nand a mass reading public. More peoplenread books, more people boughtnbooks, the stock of literature and of thencreators of literature rose precipitously.nBut did the quality of the new literaturenimprove? Was Shelley an artisticnimprovement over Marlowe? Is Mailerna refinement upon Conrad? If thendisgusting commercial mess that isncontemporary publishing and contemporarynpublic education has anythingnto tell us, it must be that “literature,”nlike everything else in modern democraticnculture, is inherently inflationary.nLiterature is of necessity creatednby a tiny minority of human beings,nand perhaps it is best that it should benread by a not greatiy larger one. In hisnrecently published memoirs, JohnnLukacs speculated that we may benagain entering an age in which seriousnwriters and literary artists — poets, historians,nphilosophers — will arrange fornthe printing of their own books, and fornthe distribution of these among a smallncircle of friends and interested strangers,neven as the great (and no so great)ncommercial houses devote themselvesnexclusively to the production of videonpackages, diet books, and TV-between-coversnfor consumption by thenProletariat of the Western Wodd.nIn a piquant aside, Alvin Kernannnotes: “Only in the Third Wodd,nLatin America, Africa, and Asia, donthe novel and poetry have somethingnlike the cultural power they exercisednin the West as recently as two or threengenerations ago.” Significantly, it is innthose regions of the world also thatnChristianity, largely discarded by thennations of the contemporary West, isncurrentiy making great advances.nAmong human societies where decadencenhas not fallen like a twilight, thenstructure of reality remains communicablento the people, both through imaginativenwriting and through the sacredntexts, in which the laughablenphrase “infinite deferral of reality”ncomes up short against the great I AM.nWhere the Word goes, it prepares anplace for the word — and vice versa.nWherever men, no matter how few ofnthem, seek truth, there too — as fornthree thousand vears — is literature. n