How the Page Matters

How the Page Matters

Bonnie Mak
Series: Studies in Book and Print Culture
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 176
Stable URL:
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    How the Page Matters
    Book Description:

    InHow the Page Matters

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8536-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Abbreviations (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction (pp. 3-8)

    This book is about how the page matters. To matter is not only to be of importance, to signify, to mean, but also to claim a certain physical space, to have a particular presence, to be uniquely embodied. The matter and mattering of the page are entangled in complicated ways as they reconfigure each other iteratively through time.¹ Across cultural boundaries and through centuries of change, the page has emerged as a safeguard for intellectual and artistic achievement. It has been used to share knowledge and communicate ideas from those of Sappho to those of William Shakespeare to our own....

  6. 1 Architectures of the Page (pp. 9-21)

    The page has played a central role in preserving the intellectual and artistic traditions of the West for over two millennia. In its long service to the graphic communication of thought, the page has crucially influenced how ideas matter. The page is more than a simple vehicle or container for the transmission of ideas; it is a part of those ideas, entangled in the story itself. The platform of the page, the markings inscribed upon it, and the odours that issue from it together constitute a message. As Don McKenzie has observed, these non-verbal elements have ‘an expressive function in...

  7. 2 Reading the Page (pp. 22-33)

    Over the past five centuries, theControversia de nobilitatehas been copied in a multitude of ways, each instantiation presenting the treatise in a new light. Designers have rewritten Buonaccorso da Montemagno’s debate by hand, translated it, printed it on parchment and paper, imagined it with illustrations, microfilmed it, and encoded it for digital access in an effort to communicate with new audiences through time. The construction of the page, including the layout of text, space, and image, all help to embody a message. Consequently, every page of theControversia de nobilitatecan be read as material evidence of an...

  8. 3 The Paratext and the Page (pp. 34-46)

    Scribes, printers, translators, editors, and booksellers have all left their indelible marks on the pages of theControversia de nobilitate. These designers shape the readerly encounter with a variety of paratextual devices, and thus propose ways to understand the fifteenth century treatise on nobility.¹ As Buonaccorso da Montemagno’s debate was recopied, a paratextual apparatus composed of title pages, prefaces, headings, and epilogues began to be woven into theControversia,eventually becoming an integral part of the text.² These devices are legitimized by their proximity to the treatise and wield interpretative power over it. Indeed, readers rarely regard the title of...

  9. 4 Reading the Library (pp. 47-61)

    Chapter 4 follows the trail of theControversia de nobilitateinto the library to explore how the pages of Buonaccorso da Montemagno’s treatise are incorporated into places and spaces of knowledge. The discussion first begins in the fictional library of theControversiaitself, where it is argued that books can attest to the character of their owner. As the library is folded into an understanding of nobility that was designed to rival traditional genealogical models, the activity of reading and the spaces associated with reading take on a broader cultural significance. A phenotypic expression of and response to contemporary ideas...

  10. 5 The Digital Page (pp. 62-71)

    Digital pages are complex interfaces that provide a point of contact between designer and reader. Like their analogue counterparts, these pages communicate verbally, graphically, aurally, and tactilely, and are constructed in a material way that influences how they are read and understood.¹ Each page is a unique combination of visual expression and physical platform, and it is with this dynamic relationship that the page transmits information and contributes to the making of meaning. As the discussion shifts to examples of theControversia de nobilitatein emergent media, the entanglement between the material and mattering of the page continues to be...

  11. Plates (pp. None)
  12. Conclusion (pp. 72-74)

    TheControversia de nobilitatehas been reimagined in a multitude of ways by designers and readers from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. The diverse incarnations continue to shape how Buonaccorso da Montemagno’s treatise is understood and used: a parchment manuscript of theControversiamight be consulted in a darkened reading room by an expert scholar as evidence of fifteenth-century humanist thought; an early printed edition might be cherished by a collector of rare incunabula; meanwhile, digitally encoded images of both can be downloaded by an idle web surfer or a meticulous research assistant. Each page is, moreover, altered...

  13. Notes (pp. 75-94)
  14. Bibliography (pp. 95-122)
  15. Index (pp. 123-130)
  16. Back Matter (pp. 131-132)

You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.


Log in to your personal account or through your institution.