Martyn Lyons, QWERTYUIOP: How the Typewriter Influenced Writing Practices, pp. 230-1:

Compared to handwriting, the typewriter imposed a new discipline. It dis­ tanced the author from the text in a new way, breaking the organic tie which some writers felt existed between themselves, their hand, the writing imple­ ment and their paper. <...> [The text] was tidy and standardized, fit for immediate duplication, often shocking in its neatness and regularity. <...> Every line was uniformly straight and its size completely regular, and the spaces between each character were absolutely identical. Of course, the writer could not change the font or font size, and lines could not be centred or right-justified[.] <...> Typewritten text had acquired a new objectivity, which could create anxiety. Hermann Hesse bought his first typewriter in 1908 and was disturbed by the immediate confrontation with his own writing in print, noting: ‘the coldness of type, which starts to look like printer’s proofs, means that you come face to face with yourself in a severe, critical, ironic, even hos­tile way. Your writing turns you into something alien and forces you to make a critical judgement’ [Hermann Hesse, ‘Die Schreibmaschine’, März, 4 (1908), pp. 377-8].

Die Schreibmaschine is most probably a Hesse's essay. I have tried to find it, but it seems it is not as easy as I expected. Does anybody know where I can get the text?


1 Answer 1


The bibliographic reference is a bit misleading. Hesse's text appeared in the journal März; but in the first volume (January to March) of the 1908 volume (which was the magazine's second year). Anyway, the Internet Archive has a scan of the volume. Unfortunately though, the first of the relevant two pages is missing, so all that remains to read there is the end of Hesse's essay on p. 378.

The essay is also included in vol. 20 of the 20-volume edition of Hesse's works edited by Volker Michels (p. 561f).


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