Friday, 17 January 2014

first blogging question

Welcome to the public blog for INF 2331, The Future of the Book! Each week I'll post follow-up items from our lecture, as well as the set blogging question for the group blog assignment. Lecture slides will be available only on Blackboard. I have a fair amount of follow-up material to post for our first two lectures, but for now I'll get straight to our first blogging question.

As we considered in class this week, the field of bibliography concerns itself with the relation between a book's physical form and the meanings it makes available for interpretation. The author of one of our readings, D.F. McKenzie, even goes so far as to argue that "forms effect meaning" (in Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts, p. 13). Note his choice of words here: effect as distinct from affect (though once or twice McKenzie's text has been misprinted with "affect," which changes the meaning of his argument but proves his point by accident...). This week's blogging question is fairly open-ended, and geared to get us thinking about the materials we'll study in this course: when was the last time you encountered a book, whether printed, digital, or otherwise, whose form affected or even effected its meaning in a way that struck you as interesting? What made it interesting?

Please include a full reference so that others can hunt down the book, and be specific about the formal feature(s) that caught your attention. These could be design features -- subtle or overt -- or physical attributes of the book, or some other kind of inventive or playful approach taken by the author, designer, or others involved in the book's making. Remember, too, these effects don't need to be intentional: accidents that happen to books as physical objects can be illuminating, too.

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