:: Buzzwords

Objects of Desire: Olympia SM9 Typewriter


Mark Twain had his Sholes & Glidden, Jack Kerouac his Underwood, Thomas Pynchon an Olivetti and Ernest Hemingway a Royal Quiet De Luxe Portable, but it was Paul Auster who wrote a book about his typewriter, the Olympia SM9.

“It was never my intention to turn my typewriter into a heroic figure,” writes Auster. “That is the work of Sam Messer, a man who stepped into my house one day and fell in love with a machine.”

Of course, Olympias are serious collectors items these days, but Auster and his typewriter have been together more than a quarter of a century (allegedly everything Auster has written since 1972 has been typed on it).

“The only alternative was an electric typewriter, but I didn’t like the noise those contraptions made: the constant hum of the motor, the buzzing and rattling of loose parts, the jitterbug pulse of alternating current vibrating in my fingers. I preferred the stillness of my Olympia.”

First posted: Monday, August 30th, 2010.

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