Empire of the Word

Sign Up NowWatch the full video - and many others - now with your Gaiam TV subscription!

Empire of the Word (2009)

3.5

Empire of the Word is a four-part television documentary series that traces the impact of reading and writing over five thousand years of human history. Hosted by renowned Canadian writer Alberto Manguel, the series is built upon the ageless struggle between individual readers and the forces lined up against them. Reading has been characterized by this never-ending search for the self-determination of readers. Crushing poverty, organized religion, authoritarian rulers, even our own brains – they can all conspire to keep us from reading. Censorship, too, is a constant danger to readers.

The reading tools we deploy shape the future of reading. Technology has become their tool for fighting censorship. But will technology mean the end of reading as we know it? For some, these new technologies are causing a renaissance in worldwide reading. What will these new forms of reading look like? But no matter what shape reading will take in the future, why does this system of small squiggles on a page really have such a hold over us? Some would say the drive to read is found in our need to be ourselves. It is the realized individual human self that is unlocked by reading.

Episode List

This first episode takes us on a historical journey through the origins of reading and demonstrates that the struggle to be free to read has been with us since the first written word appeared five thousand years ago.
4.6
52 minutes
Meet those who are fighting to learn to read – despite the forces that might get in their way.
5
52 minutes
The power of reading is nowhere more apparent than when it is banned.
4.5
52 minutes
Predicting the future of reading and writing may be impossible. But we can be sure that as long as there are stories, people will love to read them – and will keep inventing new ways to do it.
4.5
52 minutes

Join the Conversation

Login or sign upsign up to add a comment

lilyspc, posted on October 12, 2013

why is there so much usa only content. It is not fair. Your just teasing.

More From Gaia

Password is case sensitive.
tags/GaiamTV-4.0.1.7