This essay takes as its point of departure the later writing of I. A. Richards, which never achieved the influence of his famous books of the 1920s. In these later writings Richards was concerned largely with issues in language education and, relatedly, with the emergence of new media, chiefly visual media. Richards attempted in this later work to adapt new media such as television to the teaching of language, as well as to the teaching of literature. In the 1950s he attempted to use television to teach his audience how to read works of poetry. These experiments failed because his use of new media was premature, inadequate to his ambitious aims. Nonetheless, his anticipation of our obsession with “screens” was prescient and is worth a careful reconsideration.

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