Saturday, 5 April 2014

Conclusion: Books of Futures Past

Our last class considered the theme of the future of books as imagined from the past, but also drew together a threads running through course as a whole. Lecture slides are posted in the usual place on BB.

On Claude Shannon's mathematical model of communication and the difficulty of accounting for meaning within that model, I recommend Katherine Hayles's book How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (downloadable in PDF via the U of T library catalogue).

On Leonhard Euler's use of visual models to help readers think through the Bridges of Königsberg problem, as distinct from diagramming the (non-) solution, see Stephen Ramsay's article "In Praise of Pattern" (which is relevant to our course theme in other ways as well).

For links related to Portal, including the Aperture Science website we looked at, see the reading schedule entry for last week's class.

Finally, we looked at an early appearance of the word computer in a 1613 book called The yong mans gleanings. If you'd like to look at the rest of the book (which might include more of the photographer's thumbs!) you can browse it via Early English Books Online.

Thank you all for being such an engaged and stimulating class! As I mentioned in the last class, I'll be heading off on sabbatical soon to work on my second book, which is closely connected to this course, and I'm very grateful for all the illuminating class discussions, examples, assignments, and conversations that I've been lucky enough to experience with you all. Of the making of books there is no end...

Illustration from Octave Uzanne's 1894 short story "The End of Books" (see course readings)

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