Tag Archives: Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin and the iPad

or, Advice for Writers in the Age of Digital Orthography

In his book of aphorisms, One Way Street, published in 1928, Walter Benjamin has a remarkable premonition. ‘The typewriter’ he says, ‘will alienate the hand of the man of letters from the pen only when the precision of typographic forms has directly entered the conception of his books. One might suppose that new systems with more variable typefaces would then be needed. They will replace the pliancy of the hand with the innervation of commanding fingers.’ [p63-4]

This is exactly what started to happen with the advent of the desktop computer six decades later, and with the internet, email and the web, digital command extended into a virtual domain which even a prescient fellow like Benjamin couldn’t have imagined. Continue reading