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Let us suppose for a moment that paper were to disappear.
Would anything be lost?
Everything would be lost.
aper surrounds us. Not only as books, letters and diaries, but as beer mats and birth certificates, board games and business cards, fireworks and flypaper, photographs and playing cards, tickets and tea bags. We are paper people.
But the age of paper is coming to an end. E-books regularly outsell physical books. E-tickets replace the paper variety. Archives are digitized. The world we know was made from paper, and yet everywhere we look, paper is beginning to disappear. As we enter a world beyond paper, Ian Sansom explores the paradoxes of the greatest of man-made materials and shows how some kinds of paper, and the ghosts and shadows of paper, will always be with us.
Paper: An Elegy is a history of paper in all its forms and functions. Both a cultural study and a series of personal reflections on the meaning of paper, this book is a timely meditation on the very paper it is printed on.
About the Author
Ian Sansom is a regular contributor to The Guardian and the London Review of Books. He lives in Northern Ireland.