The Figure of Oscillatio (Part 2)

The Figure of Oscillatio (Part 2)

[Image: Another historiated initial in a medieval book–found in this case in a psalter held at the British Library.] Part 1 is here. Enjoy Part 2. In both The Electronic Word and Econ of Attn, Lanham maps his theory of oscillation on four-line matrices. In the earlier book, this chart plots four considerations–object, viewer, reality, and motive– on spectra of un/selfconsciousness. Lanham stresses that these are not simple either/or considerations; works of art or criticism are unlikely to be pure examples of one pole or the other: Here’s how he…

The Figure of Oscillatio (Part 1)

The Figure of Oscillatio (Part 1)

[Image: Historiated initial from twelfth-century bible housed at the British Library (Harley 2803). More below.] These remarks, dear reader, began as a preliminary section of the (alas, still unfinished) second post of the “Reading LABs” series. The explanation of the figure, though, was beginning to overwhelm that series’ official subject matter. So I’m spinning it off. I do so with the hope that readers unfamiliar with Lanham will benefit from my summary and comments, and I particularly have in mind past and present students of mine who, whether by inclination…

Amicable Annotation, Part 4 (Graffiti)

Amicable Annotation, Part 4 (Graffiti)

[Image: “Glareanus,” pen-illustration attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger in Oswald Myconius’s copy of the 1515 edition of Erasmus’s Moriae Encomium. More on this picture below.] Part 1 is here. Part 2 here. Part 3. Enjoy Part 4. Finally, we come to graffiti. Or maybe we’ve already been looking at it? Scott-Warren invites us to see nearly all book-markings that “do not qualify as annotations” as graffiti. With such markings, we catch “the ‘real’ reader” not in the act of reading “but doing something else entirely, something that appears to…

Amicable Annotation, Part 3 (Marks of Owning and Recording)

Amicable Annotation, Part 3 (Marks of Owning and Recording)

[Image: How Gabriel Harvey marked his Livy. Made available through Annotated Books Online. For details, see below.] Part 1 is here. Part 2 here. Enjoy Part 3. My discussion thus far has focused on scholarly annotation as a friendly practice. In order to account for the role of friendship in humanist times, though, we need a broader sense of the variety of ways early moderns marked up their books. Heidi Brayman Hackel’s Reading Material in Early Modern England sorts the period’s handwritten book-marks into three useful types, to which we will…

Amicable Annotation, Part 2 (Scholarly Annotation)

Amicable Annotation, Part 2 (Scholarly Annotation)

[Image: An Aldine Press edition of Lactantius’s Divine Institutes (image source here)] Part 1 on “amicable annotaiton” is here. Enjoy Part 2. In the first post in this series (“Friendship by the Book: B by F”), I argued that, among other things, humanism represents a revolution in book culture. Books were the necessary instrument of humanist expression (if not, existence). Humanism was, once again, something that one did with books–preferably those designed to humanist specifications. While the humanists transformed much of the physical nature of the book, they paid particular…

Amicable Annotation, Part 1 (Friendship by Book)

Amicable Annotation, Part 1 (Friendship by Book)

[Image: Page from an annotated early sixteenth-century copy of Erasmus’s Moriae Encomium.] Here begins the second post in the series on the reciprocal relation between friendship and the book–the book facilitating the practice of friendship, friendship shaping the materiality of the book–across the modern era. Readers new to the series are strongly encouraged to read the first post (found here), which discusses 1. what I’ve termed “the relational meanings of books” and 2. why friendship offers an ideal starting point for investigation into this dimension of the book’s usefulness. That…

On Anthology

On Anthology

E-advertisements for new anthologies (or other course texts) usually go straight to the trash bin. But I received one recently that included a passage that caught my eye (and stayed my hand as I moved to delete it) in which the editor Don LePan discussed the process of assembling the team behind an anthology: When we began to search for academics willing to join our group of general editors for the anthology, we were certainly looking for outstanding scholars. But we were also looking for scholars who we knew to…

Reading and Selving

Reading and Selving

Self-Portrait, Reading in Winter by Rockwell Kent (ca. 1935), an example of the subgenre of self-portraiture in which artists depict themselves reading. Over the last two weeks, I’ve been putting the final touches on the syllabus for a seminar that I’ll be teaching in the fall titled “Reading and Selving” (a nickname that’s stuck). The course arises from frequent encounters with accounts of media-driven transformations of the self across the ages in the works of not only the Toronto Schoolmen but also more recent media theorists, philosophers, literary critics, and…

Friendship by the Book: The Book by Friendship

Friendship by the Book: The Book by Friendship

[Image: Jean Grolier’s copy of Baptista Mantuanus‘s Omnia Opera, which features Grolier’s famous inscription “Jo[hanni] Grolierii et amicorum,” meaning “This book belongs to Jean G. and his friends.”] Here begins a series of posts of the “comparative textual media” variety regarding the relationship between friendship and the book, which I hope to intersperse with other threads over the coming months. This post is a two-for-one deal. First, I offer prefatory remarks about what I’ve taken to calling “the relational meanings of books.” These words seek to set up some of the…

Metascripts

Metascripts

                [Image: Opening of the Psalms, Aleppo Codex]     With the help of colophon-worthy manual labor from the students in my spring Technotexts seminar, my colleague Jeremy Botts and I have been collaborating over the last two months on a letterpress printing of a patch of biblical poetry. (As I plan to reflect on that project at greater length in a month or two, I’ll refrain from further discussion of its specifics for now.) The experience of hand-setting these poems has made…