The Page Image

I’ve got a new essay out with Andrew Piper and Mohamed Cheriet titled “The Page Image: Towards a Visual History of Digital Documents.” It was published in the most recent volume of Book History. Here’s a paragraph from the introduction about what we’re trying to do:

Our more immediate aim in this essay is to begin to take seriously the page image as an object of mediation in a double sense: to see the page as an image, that is, to focus on the page as a primarily visual rather than textual object and all of the qualities that attend its graphic identity; and second, to see the page image as an image of a page, that is, as a mediating object of knowledge rather than the thing itself. By combining the insights of book history and critical bibliography with the methodological insights of DIA, we hope to draw scholarly attention to the ways in which what we are seeing (before we begin to read or interpret documents) is first and foremost a representation of an absent artifact. In its most general sense, then, this essay orients us towards the study of the layered mediations of bibliographic knowledge in a digital environment. In doing so, we hope to offer another possible stance for relating to our printed past.

Read the full essay here (PDF).

chad wellmon

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