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)

[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)

[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)

[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)

[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…

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…

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…

Reading LABs (Part 1)

Anne Carson’s Nox         Defining the essentials of artist-bookery is a Sisyphean chore, as everyone who has written anything worth reading about artists’ books readily acknowledges. Book artists employ no standard printing method or machinery. Contributors are not bound by a particular set of materials or building codes. There’s no exact minimum (or maximum, for that matter) degree of involvement demanded of designers in the physical process of creation. Limited edition printings, photocopies, and one of a kinds are all acceptable. The most influential formulation, Johanna Drucker’s,…

Tree of Codes and the Denaturalization of Reading

This post is offered by Sheldon Campbell, a recent graduate of Wheaton College and practitioner of the book arts. The post was originally prepared as a paper response to a class discussion of Tree of Codes as a “literary artist’s book.” “Sculptural and Textual Interplay in Tree of Codes” Tree of Codes is an unusual book. We can’t talk about the text of this book without also talking about it’s shape, it’s sculptural qualities. It’s more than just a book with cool pages. Foer exploits the structure of this book to…