The Paris Review

In Praise of the Photocopy

Essays by Roland Barthes marked with fluorescent highlighters; poems by Carlos de Rokha or Enrique Lihn stapled together; ring-bound or precariously fastened novels by Witold Gombrowicz or Clarice Lispector: it’s good to remember that we learned to read with these photocopies, which we waited for impatiently, smoking, on the other side of the copy-shop window. As citizens of a country where books are ridiculously expensive to buy and libraries are poorly equipped or nonexistent, we got

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