Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cormac McCarthy’s Typewriter Dies After 50 Years and 5 Million Words

Cormac McCarthy, author of cheery favorites such as The Road and Blood Meridian, is about to trade in the typewriter he used to write them. The Olivetti Lettera 32 has been in his care for 46 years, since 1963, and it wasn’t even new then — McCarthy picked it up for $50 from a pawn shop in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Lately, though, the machine has started to falter, and McCarthy is looking to upgrade. It’s no surprise. The author reckons he has put around 5 million words on its clock, and maintenance consisted of “blowing out the dust with a service station hose.” The typewriter will be auctioned this Friday, and the auction house Christie’s estimates it will fetch between $15,000 and $20,000.

McCarthy already has his new writing machine. Can you guess what it might be? A new MacBook Pro, perhaps, or maybe a nice, easy-to-carry netbook (the Olivetti is a portable model)? As you probably figured, McCarthy isn’t one for such modern frivolities. The Olivetti’s replacement is another Olivetti, bought by McCarthy’s friend John Miller for $11.

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