On today’s episode of Modern Notion Daily, our guest is Matthew Battles, author of Palimpsest: A History of the Written Word (W. W. Norton & Co., July 2015). Battles explores the trajectory of writing, from the forms it takes (cuneiform, pictographs, letters, characters, emojis) to the way it’s been produced (on clay tablets, on parchment, on a digital device). Writing has surprising impacts on how we think, remember, and communicate, Battles argues, even if much of that impact lies under the surface.

Music this hour: