01 December 2009

[lit] Cormac McCarthy's Auctioning Off His Manual Typewriter.

2267.Yes, really. According to the New York Times:

Cormac McCarthy has written more than a dozen novels, several screenplays, two plays, two short stories, countless drafts, letters and more — and nearly every one of them was tapped out on a portable Olivetti manual typewriter he bought in a Knoxville, Tenn., pawnshop around 1963 for $50.

Over five million works and a place in American literature, over a period of five decades, and two hugely-selling big-screen movies – out of this:

Photo: The New York Times. Linked.

He won't nod typescriptless though, no worries – he has a replacement:

“He found another one just like this,” a portable Olivetti that looks practically brand new, Mr. McCarthy said from his home in New Mexico. “I think he paid $11, and the shipping was about $19.95.”

Now, that's someone who knows the difference between price and value.

If you're wondering how much it'll go for at auction, it's in the if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it category, so I'll just tell you here: Christie's thinks' they'll get $15,000 to $20,000 for it.

I've had typewriters like this. Some of the basic models don't have margin or tab stops. You use the unshifted-L for the numeral 1. It used something called … ahh, what was it? Oh, yes … paper.

They used to have stacks of used typewriters at Goodwill.


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Dale said...

That's pretty cool -- the object and its meaning, that is. I'm not sure I like the idea of auctioning it off. I'd rather see it in a university library or at the Smithsonian. But clearly CM has different ideas about it, and it's his to dispose of.

Interesting! I won't be bidding on it. ;-)

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Yeah, I wish he'd donate to a museum too. Kinda sad actually. I mean, it's not like CMcC is going to be wondering how he's paying the rent or where his next meal is coming from.

Just checked my wallet … ain't gonna happen over here, if it makes you feel less lonely about it.