Culture

Beep. It's from Hamlet. 2B? NT2B?=???

A professor emeritus from University College London rewrites the classics with text-message shorthand.

LONDON-Woe un2mnkind!

A respected academic thinks this--a text message that attempts to summarize the great poet John Milton--may be a smart new way to teach literature.

Dot Mobile, a company offering mobile phones to students, has hired Professor John Sutherland of University College London to provide subscribers with text message summaries and quotes from literary classics.

Created in the truncated shorthand of mobile phones, the messages created by Sutherland, a professor emeritus of English Literature, are meant to make great literature more accessible.

"We are confident that our version of 'text' books will genuinely help thousands of students remember key plots and quotes, and raise up educational standards rather than decrease levels of literacy," Dot Mobile said in a press release.

Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy is rendered: "2B? NT2B?=???". At the end of Romeo and Juliet, "bothLuvrs kill Emselves," while Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice concludes when "Evry1GtsMaryd."

"Woe un2mnkind," is part of its summary of Milton's Paradise Lost. Milton actually wrote "Woe to the inhabitants on Earth."

"Dot Mobile's unique service amply demonstrates text's ability to fillet out the important elements in a plot. Take for example the ending to Jane Eyre: MadwyfSetsFyr2Haus. Was ever a climax better compressed?" said Sutherland, this year's chairman of the judges for the Man Booker literature prize.

That's "mad wife sets fire to house" in English--the climactic event in Charlotte Bronte's Romantic classic.