Saturday, December 05, 2009

Authorly Artefacts

Cormac McCarthy's typewriter sold Friday at Christie’s to an unidentified American collector for $254,500. This is more than 10 times its high estimate of $20,000.

But why do we seem to venerate the artifacts of famous authors? (Remember, for example, Dicken's writing desk?) Do the buyers of such objects hope that glorious inspiration will somehow rub off on them? Do they hope that it will in some mystical sense bring them closer to the author.

Perhaps the latter. One memory from this year I will cherish is fitting my fingers to the keys of Anthony Burgess' typewriter and hoping to sense the ghost of the man ...


C said...

I have his book sitting on my desk : The Road. I haven't read it yet though but maybe when I do I will see what all the hullabaloo is about.

Evangeline said...

Well, why is an autograph so treasured? Because it's a direct and personal link to a famous person. People pay a great deal of money for any personal possession of their heroes, but a possession that was used in a masterpiece's creation, like a writing desk or typewriter? Well, that's about as special as you can get. That item is a piece of history.