The grammatologist least of all can avoid questioning himself about the essence of his object in the form of a question of origin: “What is writing?” means “where and when does writing begin?”
The responses generally come very quickly. They circulate within concepts that are seldom criticised and move within evidence which always seems self-evident. It is around these responses that a typology of and a perspective on the growth of writing are always organised.
All works dealing with the history of writing are composed along the same lines: a philosophical and teleological classification exhausts the critical problems in a few pages; one passes next to an exposition of facts.
We have a contrast between the theoretical fragility of the reconstructions and the historical, archaeological, ethnological, philosophical wealth of information.