Sunday Book-Thought 118

The figure of the text ‘processed’ on a computer is like a phantom to the extent that it is less bodily, more ‘spiritual’, more ethereal. There is something like a disincarnation of the text in this. But its spectral silhouette remains, and what’s more, for more intellectuals and writers, the program, the ‘software’ of machines, still conforms to the spectral model of the book. Everything that appears on the screen is arranged with a view to books: writing, lines, numbered pages, coded indications of forms (italics, bold, etc.), the differences of the traditional shapes and characters. There are some tele-writing machines that don’t do this, but ‘ours’ still respect the figure of the book – they serve is and mimic it, they are wedded to it in a way that is quasispiritual, ‘pneumatic’, close to breathing: as if you had only to say the word and it would be printed.
Jacques DerridaPaper Machine, trans. by Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), p. 30.

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