September 12, 2009



That picture of the aspiring, perspiring writer lugging his typewriter from the Puces to St Germain ( really? all the way?) is one of those pieces of symbolism that would be too much to take, if presented as fiction.
I think you mean 'hordes' of bargain-hunters, by the way (I know you like to be told these things!).

Martin Howard

I cannot claim who has typed on the 19th century typewriters in my collection but I know you will love seeing the remarkable beauty and ingenious designs of the world's first typing machines.

This link will take you directly to the collection at my website -www.antiquetypewriters.com

Have fun, you will be surprised

Martin Howard (an antique typewriter collector)

Lisa Meeker

I used to have a gold-plated typewriter with kelly green keys. It had been given to my grandmother's best friend in honor of her retirement. The friend was furious and wouldn't bring it home. Imagine, a typewriter as a retirement gift!

Wish I still had it, it worked well and had a consistently smooth strike.


Thanks for telling us your typewriter stories. I really like the Remington (well, all of them, really),and I am in the market for an Olivetti Lettera 22 myself. It won a major Italian design prize back in the late 50's or early 60's.

Carly-jay Metcalfe

Thank you for sharing these. I started (seriously) collecting last year and so far I'm the proud mother of a Hermes 2000 portable, a Hermes 3000 in *mint* condition with original brush, literature and case and an Underwood 18 (also with original spare ribbon and in a maroon and cream case which looks just like a small briefcase when being carried around). They are all in working order and I adore writing with them.

The two that aren't working and are more for decoration purposes are a Remington 16 and a Remington Rand from the 1950's (I need to get specifics). I'm in the market for a green Remington Portable No.3 (c.1928), but it's out of my price range right now. One can still dream ...

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."