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HOW TO WRITE A HISTORY OF WRITING SOFTWARE

By Robinson Meyer The Atlantic 

It’s hard to believe, but one of the most important changes in the way people write in the last 50 years has been largely overlooked by historians of literature. The word processor—that is, ​any computer software or hardware used for writing,  a nearly ubiquitous technology adopted by poets, novelists, graduate students, foreign correspondents, and CEOs—has never gotten its own literary history.

Perhaps it was just too much under our noses—or, I suppose, in front of them.

Now it finally has one. Five years ago, Matthew Kirschenbaum, an English professor at the University of Maryland, realized that no one seemed to know who wrote the first novel with the help of a word processor. He’s just published the fruit of his efforts: Track Changes, the first book-length story of word processing.

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Date of Publication: 
6/29/16