The Life, Death, and Rebirth of the Typewriter

Authored by: Richard Polt

The Routledge Companion to Media Technology and Obsolescence

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138216266
eBook ISBN: 9781315442686
Adobe ISBN:


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Our word-processing applications have accustomed us to searching, modifying, and rearranging text that is held in flexible digital memory. The essence of a word processor is the freedom it gives the writer during the period between initial typing and the finalization of the text. In contrast, text printed by a typewriter onto unforgiving paper cannot easily be altered. Despite this obvious advantage of digital writing, typewriters have been remarkably persistent. Although they have long been displaced from their traditional roles, they have not disappeared, and in recent years they have taken on a fresh cultural significance.

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