I The Chain:In Mervelous
Ah quanto a dir qual
ma per trattar del
The Rifle Man of Miami the first pocket book printed on cheap paper and designed for mass consumption.
Origen's Hexapla, a 7,000 page Bible that gave six versions side by side, spread open on an altar for all to worship.
Cave paintings in the darkest, least accessible recesses.
Hypertexts of photon letters held in magnetic memory.
The book is a perfect icon for the inextricable relationship between knowledge and writing for every book is both progenitor and child. Shifts in epistemology have always precipitated changes in writing but what is sometimes overlooked is the way this is reflected in the book itself, a transmittal device and container for the materials of lit, i.e., words.
That is, literature too, has a material history which, to follow one of its many plot lines, is to read a story of reproducibility and portability.... Consider its end points: the cave painting, a one-of-a-kind, permanently bound to the most inaccessible parts of the earth. A secret. Probably used for sacramental purposes akin to the sculptures of saints placed on roofs where no one but God can see them. Contrast this to the book on the Notre Dame Cathedral of Amiens or the Perseus Project of Tufts University. Perseus is a "book" of classical texts in both Greek and English in which lexicons, grammar and conjugation databases and criticism can be made present; some two thousand art works, maps, and floor plans are linked to the text so that readers can, for example, call up the Acropolis referred to by Aristotle in his Rhetoric.
And remember, this can be done from anywhere in the world by anyone with a modem. Something any poet or academic press with runs of 1,000 should ponder.
Now consider the history between these end points and how intertwined book engineering is with ways of seeing: one manuscript of the Pentateuch was written on 57 skins sewn together to form a piece 36 meters long and was read by rolling from one scroll to another a serial retrieval system which you emulate every time you click on the scroll bar to read this text. Then came the codex, the book in the shape of a box (which the Romans invented for ease of use in the field). With the parallel retrieval system of the codex, it's as easy to flip to page 200 and back as it is to use a hotlink; it is easy to begin to think "hypertextually." Is it any coincidence that the codex had become the most common form of book by the time Augustine abandoned the Aristotelian notion of time as arrow in flight for a conception of time as the "always ever present"? The present containing the past as surely as it holds the future?...
The push of how we
Which is to say, what
Accordingly, each has
I can use the
Still, in terms of a lite