Literary Machines

Literary Machines (short title) is a book first published in 1982[1] by Ted Nelson, and republished nine times by 1993. It offers an extensive overview of Nelson's term "hypertext" as well as Nelson's Project Xanadu. It also includes other theories by Nelson, including "tumblers" for addressing bits in files past and present, "transclusion" as a method for including original work in one's own work, and "micropayments" to pay for the use. The format of the book is nonlinear, as the chapters are arranged in such a way that the text can be read out of order.

Literary Machines
AuthorTed Nelson
CountryUnited States
GenreComputer Science
PublisherMindful Press

The first edition of the book, referred to by Nelson as "The Humanist Edition", featured a silver Mylar cover. Subsequent editions, referred to by Nelson as "The Technical Edition" featured a white soft cover.[2]


  • Literary Machines: The report on, and of, Project Xanadu concerning word processing, electronic publishing, hypertext, thinkertoys, tomorrow's intellectual revolution, and certain other topics including knowledge, education and freedom (1981), Mindful Press, Sausalito, California.
    • Publication dates as listed in the 93.1 (1993) edition: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993.
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