(M)App to Print (Part 2)

(M)App to Print (Part 2)

In the first post of this two-part reflection, I noted Iain Pears’s remark that in the Arcadia project he sought to “create a narrative that was vastly more complex than anything that could be done in an orthodox book, at the same time as making it far more simple to read.” The result was an app that took the form of a multi-stranded subway-style map–or, as I’ve been calling it, a “(m)app fiction.” Again, as I mentioned in the first post, the Arcadia “(m)app” isn’t the only aspect of this story…

Computer Poems; Or, Back to Applesoft Basic

Computer Poems; Or, Back to Applesoft Basic

[Lisa Hemphill’s “Self-Reflexive No. 2” {No. 1 of 2}, see below for the code] As mentioned in earlier post, my recent reading has yielded a fresh understanding of the paper components of bpNichol’s First Screening. My teaching, meanwhile, has given me a delightful opportunity to return to the screenic side of the work. Students in my now-running “Literature of the Digital Age” course read Nichol’s and Geof Huth’s early experiments with what Nichol called “computer poems” alongside examples of print visual poetry from recent decades in order to trace one…

From (M)App to Print (Part 1)

From (M)App to Print (Part 1)

[Featured image: Screenshot of the Amazon UK rendering of the Faber & Faber codex version.] In an earlier post on The Silent History, I discussed the “remediation” of a digital work into print. We are now accustomed to thinking that the traffic always flows in the opposite direction–that the Internet is quickly hoovering up the entirety of our print (and chirographic for that matter) inheritance. Thus, we can easily overlook the opposite scenario: when the “born digital” is “reborn print.”  (I have in mind here digitalia that’s born on software…

William Trevor and the (Modernist) Work of Revision

William Trevor and the (Modernist) Work of Revision

[Image: Manuscript of William Trevor’s “In Love with Ariadne,” available on the Paris Review website here.] In her wonderful The Work of Revision, Hannah Sullivan tracks the ways that Modernist writers–Henry James, Pound, Eliot, Woolf, Auden–changed their works, arguing in turn that revision should be counted among the chief Modernist virtues. (If you, dear reader, aren’t familiar with the book, I’d urge you read my friend Alan’s insightful review for the now, alas, defunct Books and Culture.) Sullivan ably maps the new ecology of inscription technologies emerging as the twentieth century…

From Screen to Page

From Screen to Page

Reading Matthew Kirschenbaum’s superb Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing recently reminded me of a curious element of bpNichol’s First Screening, one the canonical early works of electronic literature (see Jim Andrews’s website for an emulated version and commentary). First Screening is now often treated–and transmitted–as a batch of twelve kinetic poems (originally programmed in Apple BASIC). In fact, Nichol published it as a little book in an edition of 100 copies, the first imprint of the “Underwhich Software Series.” Readers reached the floppy disk only after gazing…

A Viewing

A Viewing

In the spring, the library staff at my institution made its usual solicitation for end-of-year purchases, particularly wants of the pricier variety. I approached our departmental liaison with an unusual request: artists’ books. As suggested in some earlier posts (particularly the unfinished “Reading Labs” thread), I have been thinking quite a bit about artists’ books in recent years, and I’ve been looking for ways to introduce them in my teaching. The very-easy-to-refuse offer that I made to the library staff was for the establishment of a small collection of artists’…

Amicable Annotation, Part 9 (Women and Men)

Amicable Annotation, Part 9 (Women and Men)

[Image: Marginal remark by Hester Piozzi (a.k.a. “Mrs. Thrale” of Johnson-lore) in a copy of her Observations and reflections made in the course of a journey through France, Italy, and Germany. This annotated copy was given by Piozzi to her friend William Augustus Conway in 1819.] In recent installments in this miniseries (particularly Parts 6 and 8), I have been stressing that book culture in the long eighteenth century could create a more equal context capable of sustaining cross-sex friendship. Yet we must admit that in both of the cases…

Amicable Annotation, Part 8 (Women and Men, Cont’d)

Amicable Annotation, Part 8 (Women and Men, Cont’d)

[Feature Image: Title page of A Collection of Poems, Chiefly in Manuscript, and Written by Living Authors. Baillie rounded up poems from members of her circle, including Walter Scott, in order to help a friend, Mrs. James Stirling, whose husband had recently died. The decision to include the “friend” on the title page, in effect using its gift-end to market the book, speaks to the age’s high regard for friendship. To buy the book was to participate in the unnamed friend’s care, even perhaps to befriend her.] This post continues…

“Reading Practices,” Notes toward a definition

“Reading Practices,” Notes toward a definition

[Feature image: Study: At a Reading Desk by Sir Frederick Leighton (1877)] The members of the Reading and Selving seminar are now busy assembling presentations on the reading practices of different periods in the West–from monasticism to the “reading revolution” (or lack thereof) of the eighteenth century. As I was preparing the directions for the exercise, I realized that I had been taking for granted that students knew exactly what I meant when I used the terminology of “reading practices.” And not only in this class, but in many others…