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Promiscuous KnowledgeInformation, Image, and Other Truth Games in History$
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Kenneth Cmiel and John Durham Peters

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226611853

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226670669.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

The Culture of Happy Summary, 1920–45

The Culture of Happy Summary, 1920–45

(p.102) 3 The Culture of Happy Summary, 1920–45
Promiscuous Knowledge

Kenneth Cmiel

John Durham Peters

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 3 concerns how cultural arbiters in the interwar years invented new methods of managing facts through strategies of cultural summary. It shows how, in the early twentieth century, from 1920 to 1945, one important strategy for managing facts was the effort to summarize complex wholes with a single image, number, example, graph, or minimum of words. Abridgment, in all its forms, was seen as an antidote to information overload. The chapter shows how fragmentation and anxiety were dealt with through new techniques of simplification, summary, and streamlining. Topics include print culture, museums, curation, libraries, and statistical sampling.

Keywords:   cultural summary, abridgment, information overload, fragmentation, streamlining, print culture, museums, curation, libraries, statistics

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