Sunday, 9 April 2000

From "Modernity, labour and the typewriter"

By Morag Shiach.

Friedrich Kittler places Nietzsche as a central figure in the development of the discourse network of 1900 largely because of his demonstrable connection with the typewriter. Nietzche bought a very early version of the typewriter in 1882 and Kittler says, "Nietzche as typist -- the experiment lasted for a couple of weeks and was broken off, yet it was a turning point in the organization of discourse." [...] deteriorating vision [...] One or two passing comments are the sum total of evidence Kittler can find for this transformative moment. In a letter to Peter Gast of 14 August 1881 Nietzsche writes: "I have had to delete the reading of scores and piano playing from my activities once and for all. I am thinking of acquiring a typewriter, and am in touch with its inventor, a Dane from Copenhagen." [...] Then, in a typed letter of 1882, Nietsche reflects on the relations between writing materials and thinking [...] He wrote about the experience only in passing [...] We do have evidence from his childhood of his very strong involvement in the process of writing by hand: "What he enjoyed most of all was writing. His handwriting was extremely neat, and his poems, his lists, and the memos he wrote for himself all show that he took pleasure in forming letters and laying lines of handwriting out attractively on the page." [...]

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