Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines

Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines

4.11 - 1251 ratings - Source

This is a richly imaginative study of machines for writing and reading at the end of the nineteenth century in America. Its aim is to explore writing and reading as culturally contingent experiences, and at the same time to broaden our view of the relationship between technology and textuality. At the booka€™s heart is the proposition that technologies of inscription are materialized theories of language. Whether they failed (like Thomas Edisona€™s a€œelectric pena€) or succeeded (like typewriters), inscriptive technologies of the late nineteenth century were local, often competitive embodiments of the way people experienced writing and reading. Such a perspective cuts through the determinism of recent accounts while arguing for an interdisciplinary method for considering texts and textual production. Starting with the cacophonous promotion of shorthand alphabets in postbellum America, the author investigates the assumptionsa€”social, psychic, semiotica€”that lie behind varying inscriptive practices. The a€œgroovesa€ in the booka€™s title are the delicate lines recorded and played by phonographs, and readers will find in these pages a surprising and complex genealogy of the phonograph, along with new readings of the history of the typewriter and of the earliest silent films. Modern categories of authorship, representation, and readerly consumption emerge here amid the un- or sub-literary interests of patent attorneys, would-be inventors, and record producers. Modern subjectivities emerge both in ongoing social constructions of literacy and in the unruly and seemingly unrelated practices of American spiritualism, a€œCoona€ songs, and Rube Goldberg-type romanticism. Just as digital networks and hypertext have today made us more aware of printed books as knowledge structures, the development and dissemination of the phonograph and typewriter coincided with a transformed awareness of oral and inscribed communication. It was an awareness at once influential in the development of consumer culture, literary and artistic experiences of modernity, and the disciplinary definition of the a€œhumana€ sciences, such as linguistics, anthropology, and psychology. Recorded sound, typescripts, silent films, and other inscriptive media are memory devices, and in todaya€™s terms the author offers a critical theory of ROM and RAM for the century before computers.aquot;The phonograph and the typewriter may be things of the past, but this book will resonate with readers who are engaged daily with computer networks, hypertexts, and the forms that mass media will take in the new century.

Title:Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines
Author:Lisa Gitelman
Publisher:Stanford University Press - 1999


You Must CONTINUE and create a free account to access unlimited downloads & streaming