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From Clay Tablets to Smartphones: 5,000 Years of Writing

The New York Times – London – “The writing’s on the wall, we’re told. Whether it was Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press in the 15th century, the invention of the typewriter 300 years later, or the emoji of today’s smartphones, the act of writing seems to be forever on the precipice of extinction, without quite falling off. “Writing has never been static,” said Adrian Edwards, a curator at the British Library who put together the exhibition “Writing: Making Your Mark,” which runs through Aug. 27. “The marks we make on the page have always changed and developed in ways in tune with our needs,” he added. “I think writing’s going to be around for quite some time to come,” Mr. Edwards said.

With 120 objects that represent 44 different systems of writing from the past 5,000 years, “Writing: Making Your Mark” examines the intriguingly similar past, present and future of writing, showcasing a Mesopotamian tablet that has an early form of cuneiform worked into its clay, an ancient Egyptian monument covered with hieroglyphs and the ink-stained, slightly damaged quill of the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The sheer breadth of the show suggests that writing will most likely never go away, even as new technologies change the definition of what it means to write…”

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