‘This strange process of typing on a glowing glass screen’: An Interview with Matthew Kirschenbaum

  • Manuel Portela Center for Portuguese Literature, University of Coimbra


Track Changes, by Matthew Kirschenbaum, tells the early history of word processing, roughly situated between 1964—when the IBM Magnetic Tape/Selectric Typewriter (MT/ST) was advertised as a word processing system for offices—and 1984—when the Apple Macintosh generalized the graphical user interface in personal computers. The history of word processing both as technological process and mode of textual production is deeply entangled with the changes in the technologies of writing as they reflect and contribute to efficiency and control in increasingly bureaucratic processes of social administration and organization. The literary history of word processing can be situated within this general computerization of the modes of production of writing. Kirschenbaum’s methods combine archival work in special collections and writers’ archives, oral interviews with writers and engineers, and hands-on descriptions of historical word processing machines. Track Changes is the subject of this interview.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14195/2182-8830_4-2_13

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Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. (2016). Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing, Cambrigde, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Matthew Kirschenbaum (photo)
How to Cite
PORTELA, Manuel. ‘This strange process of typing on a glowing glass screen’: An Interview with Matthew Kirschenbaum. MATLIT: Materialities of Literature, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 2, p. 267-275, july 2016. ISSN 2182-8830. Available at: <https://impactum-journals.uc.pt/matlit/article/view/3017>. Date accessed: 18 aug. 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.14195/2182-8830.
Entrevista | Interview


literary history; word processing; writing technologies; writing scene

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