moveable types

aus der rede umberto ecos in der neu eroeffneten bibliothek in alexandria:

All these physically moveable texts give an impression of absolute freedom on the part of the reader, but this is only an impression, an illusion of freedom. The machinery that allows one to produce an infinite text with a finite number of elements has existed for millennia, and this is the alphabet. Using an alphabet with a limited number of letters one can produce billions of texts, and this is exactly what has been done from Homer to the present days.

umberto eco – Vegetal and mineral memory: The future of books

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