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Publishers WeeklyCelebrated Romanian novelist, essayist, radio commentator, and poet Codrescu scribes this eulogy-cum-paean of the printed publication. In tribute, Codrescu narrates his personal memoir as essentially archival and entangled with its textual production. He recounts an illicitly borrowed typewriter in Soviet-occupied Romania, handwritten poems copied by lovers, postcards written for posterity, marginalia, and the recent entombment of his various scrawls and snippets into an official archive. This official archive has its doppelgänger in a dispersed archive including his first journal, long-lost and still mourned, a twice mislaid government file, a stolen manuscript, disseminated letters, never-realized novels, and correspondences vaporized on crashed hard-drives. What becomes of this inherently written life when this multifarious cache is reduced to a spectrally digital library, condensed to the virtual, when all texts are read illuminated on the same screen? Codrescu's various hyperbolic and absurd edicts respond to the alleged death knell of literature at the hands of e-reading, yet the main tenor of the book is a jubilant fête for the diverse and rich history of linguistic technologies and the concomitant literary movements. Lucid, clever, and lyrical, Codrescu's delightfully distinctive prose extols a linguistic productive life as he commemorates this vertiginous moment in which the textual world flows from printed form to digital existence.
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