Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Edison Era

Scripts Grooves and Writing Machines Representing Technology in the Edison Era 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 a

  • Title: Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Edison Era
  • Author: Lisa Gitelman
  • ISBN: 9780804738729
  • Page: 217
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 book s heart is the proposition that technologies of inscription are mateThis 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 book s heart is the proposition that technologies of inscription are materialized theories of language Whether they failed like Thomas Edison s electric pen 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 assumptions social, psychic, semiotic that lie behind varying inscriptive practices The grooves in the book 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, Coon songs, and Rube Goldberg type romanticism.Just as digital networks and hypertext have today made us 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 human sciences, such as linguistics, anthropology, and psychology Recorded sound, typescripts, silent films, and other inscriptive media are memory devices, and in today s terms the author offers a critical theory of ROM and RAM for the century before computers.

    One thought on “Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Edison Era”

    1. Everything is material, including (especially) writing; Gitelman not only *gets* that, she goes nuts with the argument. This book changed my thinking and research in myriad ways; it's detailed, incisive, wide-ranging and oh-so-coherent. A really wonderful read.

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