The Reading Machine
At one point in the distant future, long after our sun has faded and its planets have passed, Pantography will produce the text, “in a village in la mancha, the name of which i cannot quite recalk”. One hour later, right on schedule, it will come out with a line that is indistinguishable from the opening words of the Penguin edition . If, upon seeing it, you were to hurry off to your local Waterstone’s, you would get nothing new from it other than a few capital letters. Pantography takes...
Einmal Ist Keinmal
Boasting about sales figures and large print-runs on book jackets is a vulgar practice reserved to blockbusters, but it is perfectly respectable for even the most “literary” of books to boast about the number of languages into which it has been translated. As if to say, “It’s so good it works in nineteen languages!” The literary world is rife with scandals of fiery reviewers unacquainted with the object of their derision, established writers who trot out ignorant blurbs for agency...
Copyleft and right
When a public gallery announces that it has been bequeathed the works of a recently deceased artist, the tone is always one of gratitude and praise for the artist’s generosity. Museums and universities accept the papers of retired statesmen and writers with equal gratitude. Such donations, I’m sure, are transacted across several meetings and much legal negotiation. But surely these organisations must receive many such offers from deluded people who think that the public would benefit from...
Jean Paul: Schulmeisterlein Wutz
What wonders hide within your letters, what adventures within your words, mysterious Schoolmaster Wutz! Pompous and mocked you make your entrance: a rustic pedant with eyes on the greater world, re-imagining the wisdom of ages at the kitchen table. The volumes in your library bind fancied epics, elaborated rumours of ideas and histories—a matchstick model of the soul! Since that day when I was introduced to him, I have carried these letters with me, trying to know Wutz through them. My...
Pantography tweets a message every hour. Each one is consecutive: the first was ‘0’ and the last will consist of 140 zeds. Between these two extremes, every possible message will have been tweeted: a description of every feeling you’ve ever had, anything you’ve ever overheard or will overhear, any headline that has ever caught, or could ever catch, your eye, everything you—and everyone else—has ever thought, or could ever think. That’s the good news
Packing My Library
1. Packing my library I am packing my library. Tomorrow morning, these books will be packed inside ten cardboard boxes, loaded onto a van, and shipped to another country. Were it not for these several hundred books, the question of moving would be trivial: a couple of suitcases would carry all my clothes, and everything else I possess would happily fit into a large box. The rest—all the other things that are important to me, all that I have acquired in my life