TRB Podcast: Matthew Kirschenbaum on the Literary History of Word Processing

TRB Podcast: Matthew Kirschenbaum on the Literary History of Word Processing


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On March 1, Dr. Matthew Kirschenbaum spoke at the University of Toronto’s iSchool Colloquium. Dr. Kirschenbaum’s lecture, titled “Track Changes: The Literary History of Word Processing” examines the past and continued influence that word processing technology has had on the craft of literary composition. Listen and enjoy!

The U of T press release included the following abstract of Dr. Kirschenbaum’s talk:

Mark Twain famously prepared the manuscript for Life on the Mississippi with his new Remington typewriter, and today we recognize that typewriting changed the material culture (and the economics) of authorship. But when did literary writers begin using word processors? Who were the early adopters? How did the technology change their relation to their craft? Was the computer just a better typewriter, or was it something more? This talk, drawn from the speaker’s forthcoming book on the subject, will provide some answers, and also address questions related to the challenges of conducting research at the intersection of literary and technological history.

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland and Associate Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH). He is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the teaching faculty at the Rare Book School.