The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species

[Feature image: Marginal illumination of an ursine scribe from the Bohun Psalter and Hours] Last year, a member of the first edition of the Technotexts seminar, Suzanna Hersey, encouraged me to read Ken Liu’s Paper Menagerie, and she was especially keen to see what I’d make of the collection’s opening story, “The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species.” I have now used it as the final reading (more on this in a moment) of Technotexts 2.0. It’s actually a bit of a stretch to call “Bookmaking Habits” a “story,” though: it’s…

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…

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…

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…

Minding the Gutter

[Feature image: Fiona Banner, Anatomy of a Book (2009)] Gutter of a volume is the channel and combined marginal space formed by the two inner or back margins of facing pages of a volume. Book Arts Web On the rare occasion that I’ve given the gutter a moment’s thought, it has seemed to me a minor annoyance, one easily tolerated, though, because of the innumerable benefits of the technology that created it, the codex. Again, if I’d thought it over, I probably would have named the gutter among the few unfortunate…