I talked to Katie Trumpener, Emily Sanford Professor of Comparative Literature and English at Yale, about this fragile and unreadable page. It's from Christa Wolf's 'Quilt Memories', an artists book made of bedsheets, and fragments of various kinds. We were at the Beinecke Library, where it was on display as part of the 2018 Text and Textiles exhibition. Listen to us valiantly continue as a noisy guided tour descends on us half way through.
Whitney Trettien at the University of Pennsylvania showed me this prototype of a parallel edition of Hamlet, with a unique typographical system that displays four different versions of the play simultaneously.
There was lots to say but we had to be quick because we were about to be kicked out of the Kislak center for rare books at Upenn by a grad student who needed his study room back.
This medieval page spread from the Book of Brome is full of weird quirks. It's meant to be looked at as much as read. It has letters turning into pictures and symbols. Plus it's got hyperlinks. If you don't believe me, listen to Jessica Brantley discussing it with me at the Beinecke Library.
(No animals were harmed in the making of this podcast, or the Book of Brome).
What language does a page speak? Listen to me and Deidre Lynch in conversation about some of Sylvia Ptak's 'anti-embroidery' artworks. They mimic pages, but they're actually asemic: their text is created from loops of thread. See the pieces we were talking about here.
Also, check out the oh-so-smooth sign-off technique.
Raymond Roussel's New Impressions of Africa does some very weird things with its pages. It contains an illustration of a man reading some uncut leaves, and that's exactly how Roussel's own book itself was supposed to be read. I had fun talking to Dennis Duncan and Sophie Defrance about uncut pages, pervy reading, and Roussel riding a swan. It was all going so well until I mentioned vaginas.
Pictures of the pages we were talking about here.
I had a chat with the book artist Egidija Čiricaitė about one of her recent works. It has really unusual pages because they're translucent, so you can read several of them at the same time. It's a poem - kind of - with a complicated but ingenious structure that involves linguistic substitutions and superimposed grids of letters, And also some items of crockery. Click below to listen and all is explained.
See what we were going on about here.
Here's a talk I had with Christina Faraday about Henry Billingsley's very special 1570 edition of Euclid's Elements of Geometry, with its weird and mystical preface by the magician John Dee. Billingsley not only translated into English for the first time, but translated its diagrams into 3D. It's one of the earliest pop-up books, designed for learning about 3D shapes rather than playing with them, although we discovered you can do that too.
More images here.