Wonderful information about how books as we know them today came to be…and lots of inspiration for artists books’ makers :)
Originally posted on medievalbooks:
What a clever device the book is. It is compact and light, yet contains hundreds of pages that hold an incredible amount of information. Moving forward or backward in the text is as easy as flipping a page, while the book’s square shape and flat bottom facilitates easy shelving. Still, the object is useless if the information it contains cannot be found. And so tools were developed to help the reader do just that, such as page numbers, running titles, and indices. As familiar as these aids may be, they are older than you think. The page number, for example, is encountered in papyrus manuscripts made some two thousand years ago (see this older blog post).
Crucially, to look up information in a book you must have first located the object. And so the shelfmark was invented, the equivalent of our call number. By the end of the medieval period it had become as clever as the book to which it was added: letters, digits, and even colour coding…
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Fascinating post about the ways of visual communication in medieval times. In our times, many feel as if we have invented the wheel…but we haven’t. Our ancestors were there before us. In many ways, human beings have not changed at all in our history. Our techonology has changed, but not us :)
Originally posted on medievalbooks:
In our modern society there are words everywhere around us, all the time. They are not only written in books – that fair and most devoted carrier of text – but also on walls, where they appear in all shapes and sizes. Judging from surviving paintings, it appears that in medieval times it was less common to have words – text – displayed on walls. Looking at Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s famous fresco Effects of Good Government in the City (1338-1340) one would assume medieval walls to be spotless, both indoors and outdoors (Fig. 1) – here is another example.
Fig. 1 – Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Effects of Good Government in the City (Fresco, 1338-1340) – Source
Surviving artefacts suggest, however, that this medieval imagery is deceptive, that the streets we are shown in paintings were probably virtually cleaned by the painter. While rare, different types of posters survive that were once stuck to medieval walls. Curiously, they are often quite…
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This weekend I’m going to take part in the Liverpool Artist Book Fair: I have new Artist Books to show and get feedback on and I’m excited!
Next week there will be a much needed update to the blog, with all my latest news, photos, and links to my brand new RedBubble and Etsy shops (shameless, I know :)
I used to call it curiosity, but I like Attention Surplus better :)
Originally posted on patter:
Writing requires huge amounts of solitude. What I’ve done to soften the harshness of that choice is that I don’t write all the time. I like to go out- which includes traveling; I can’t write when I travel. I like to talk. I like to listen. I like to look and to watch. Maybe I have an Attention Surplus Disorder. The easiest thing in the world for me is to pay attention.
Susan Sontag. p 17 in Krementz, Jill (1996) The writer’s desk. New York: Random House.
I love this from Susan Sontag. It so seems to fit my life too. I retreat to write. But then I also pay much too much attention to too many things at once.
I’m thinking of that attention-al aspect of me today as I work on and work up a set of workshop activities around building an academic profile. I re-looked at my own…
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Genre is a bookstore problem, not a literary problem.
How to disagree with this?
I don’t. I much prefer using the qualifier speculative fiction instead of genre. Just because a novel or short story has elements of genre, doesn’t mean it is not literary – The HandMaid’s Tale is a grand example of this.