This original and radical book challenges dominant parameters of literacy by comparing the oral tradition of the Tamils in South India with the Western culture of printed text. In India, traditional texts are always performed; as a result, form and meaning can change depending on the occasion. This is the opposite of Western communication through publication which is a static representation of knowledge. The author examines the reasons for the differences between the Indian and Western textual traditions, and describes how text lives through the performing arts of words, sound and imagery. She argues that interactive multimedia is the first Western communication form to represent oral traditions effectively.