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The Chinese Typewriter


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About the Author

Thomas S. Mullaney is Professor of History at Stanford University and the author of Coming to Terms with the Nation: Ethnic Classification in Modern China.


...this gives us a fresh view of the issues...

-New Scientist

His theme - the preservation of characters, a basic element of Chinese culture, and how they entered, and became part of, the modern informational world - is well worth our attention.

-Times Higher Education

A surprisingly engaging read.

-The New Yorker

Perhaps above all, Mullaney sheds multi-angled light on the remarkable battering that Chinese characters suffered throughout the twentieth century.

-Times Literary Supplement

Mullaney does more than just deconstruct the myth of the unsuitability of the Chinese language. An important part of his project is to uncover the hidden history, alternatives, and trials and errors in the development of typewriters, especially Chinese typewriters, that has been buried by the triumph of the QWERTY keyboard. These fascinating and nuanced stories of design and engineering ultimately also form a history that decenters the single-shift QWERTY keyboard, which was mainly developed for English typewriting.

The Chinese Typewriter delivers the fascinating account of how the history of technology has played out over national and cultural boundaries. Theauthor also manages the impressive feat of making a highly technical story very readable.-Technikgeschichte
The Chinese Typewriter is a richly textured, multi-tiered study not just of an artefact but also of an entire conceptual universe.-The Journal of Design History

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