The Typewriter Century: A Cultural History of Writing Practices

By Martyn Lyons

© 2021

This book captures the intensity of the relationship between writers and their typewriters from the 1880s, when the machine was first commercialized, to the 1980s, when word-processing superseded it. Drawing on examples from the United States, Britain, Europe, and Australia, The Typewriter Century focuses on "celebrity writers," including Henry James, Jack Kerouac, Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon, and Erle Stanley Gardner, who wrote prolifically and mechanically, developing routines in which typing, handwriting, and dictation were each allotted important functions.

The typewriter de-personalized the text; the office typewriter bureaucratized it. At the same time, some authors found a new and disturbing distance between themselves and their compositions while others believed the typewriter facilitated spontaneous and automatic typing. The Typewriter Century provides a cultural history of the typewriter, outlining the ways in which it can be considered an agent of change as well as demonstrating how it influenced all writers, canonical and otherwise.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Book and Print Culture
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Illustrations: 15
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP006517

  • AVAILABLE JAN 2021

    From: $26.21

    Regular Price: $34.95

    ISBN 9781487525736
  • AVAILABLE JAN 2021

    From: $67.50

    Regular Price: $90.00

    ISBN 9781487508241
  • AVAILABLE JAN 2021

    From: $26.21

    Regular Price: $34.95

Quick Overview

As a vehicle for outstanding creativity, the typewriter has been taken for granted and was, until now, a blind spot in the history of writing practices.

The Typewriter Century: A Cultural History of Writing Practices

By Martyn Lyons

© 2021

This book captures the intensity of the relationship between writers and their typewriters from the 1880s, when the machine was first commercialized, to the 1980s, when word-processing superseded it. Drawing on examples from the United States, Britain, Europe, and Australia, The Typewriter Century focuses on "celebrity writers," including Henry James, Jack Kerouac, Agatha Christie, Georges Simenon, and Erle Stanley Gardner, who wrote prolifically and mechanically, developing routines in which typing, handwriting, and dictation were each allotted important functions.

The typewriter de-personalized the text; the office typewriter bureaucratized it. At the same time, some authors found a new and disturbing distance between themselves and their compositions while others believed the typewriter facilitated spontaneous and automatic typing. The Typewriter Century provides a cultural history of the typewriter, outlining the ways in which it can be considered an agent of change as well as demonstrating how it influenced all writers, canonical and otherwise.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Book and Print Culture
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 320 pages
  • Illustrations: 15
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Martyn Lyons is an emeritus professor of History & European Studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations
    Acknowledgments

    1. Introduction: The Typewriter as an Agent of Change?
    2. The Birth of the Typosphere
    3. Modernity and the Typewriter Girl
    4. The Modernist Typewriter
    5. The Distancing Effect: The Hand, the Eye, the Voice
    6. The Romantic Typewriter
    7. Manuscript and Typescript
    8. Georges Simenon: The Man in the Glass Cage
    9. Erle Stanley Gardner: The Fiction Factory
    10. Domesticating the Typewriter 
    11. The End of the Typewriter Century and Post-Digital Nostalgia

    Bibliography
    Index 

By the Same Author(s)

Related Titles