This Week in Writing: The secret past of processing words

In this installment, take a historical look at the impact of WordPerfect on today’s scribes, and hear an oral account of writing’s roots.

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Because it’s always a good time for a history lesson, this week, we take a look at a few pieces that examine the history of writing, from the Gutenberg printing press to a poet who wrote on a mainframe computer.

Also, pieces that remind us to recycle old content, and a reminder never to forget how we learned grammar.

The history of word processing: How has word processing affected the way we write? For one thing, we know it gives us options. We don’t have to get it right the first time, and some author was the first to experience the joy of the delete key. Matthew Kirschenbaum, an English professor at the University of Maryland has sought out “the early adopters, the first mainstream authors to trade in their typewriters for WordStar and WordPerfect.” He got far enough to write a book, but that only started the debate. Plenty of authors, some of them famous, have contacted him with their claim to the title since a New York Times preview of his book in December. Read the story here.

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