In the closing pages of Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre’s protagonist listens for the last time to a voice singing on a familiar gramophone record, and he writes:

“Couldn’t I try … Naturally, it wouldn’t be a question of a tune … But couldn’t I in another medium? … It would have to be a book: I don’t know how to do anything else. But not a history book: history talks about what has existed – an existent can never justify the existence of another existent. […] Another kind of book. I don’t quite know what kind – but you would have to guess, behind the printed words, behind the pages, something which didn’t quite exist, which was above existence. The sort of story, for example, which could never happen, an adventure. It would have to be beautiful and hard as steel and make people ashamed of their existence.” (1938; trans 1965, p. 252)

Emphasis mine. Text as machine.

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