Aug 28, 2011

"The actual facts of the historical story had practically begged to become a novel: a beautiful Italian noblewoman, gone blind in the flower of her youth. A local inventor, inspired by her beauty to create the world’s first typewriter. The complication that both of them were married to other people. The lush backdrop of early nineteenth century Italy.

It was deceptively simple: Carolina, the contessa, wanted to write a letter to Turri, the inventor. When I had her sit down to do that with the tools she would have had at hand: a pen, ink, sealing wax, and open flame – I knew immediately why Turri would have been inspired to invent his new machine. For a blind person, these simplest elements of communication would have been not only virtually impossible to negotiate, but genuinely dangerous – which is why most early typewriters weren’t conceived of as commercial products, but as writing aids for the blind."

Carey Wallace | review of The Blind Contessa's New Machine

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