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Les Espaces du Livre / Spaces of the Book

Supports et acteurs de la création texte/image (XXe–XXIe siècles) / Materials and Agents of the Text/Image Creation (20th–21th Centuries)

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Edited By Isabelle Chol and Jean Khalfa

L’étonnante diversité des possibilités esthétiques offertes par le livre comme support matériel de la fin du XIX e siècle aux expérimentations les plus contemporaines, est au cœur de la réflexion proposée dans ce livre. La page, le feuillet et le livre, l’écran aussi, débordent le cadre du codex et du livre relié (livre en éventail, leporello, recueil d’affiches, livre dressé, livre sculpté, livre éclaté, livre numérique, etc.), par l’hétérogénéité de leurs matières, de leurs formes et de leurs formats. Ils deviennent des supports actifs dans le processus de conception et de réception de l’œuvre. Observer les processus de composition et de diffusion des œuvres dans leurs singularités matérielles, tel est l’objet de ce livre. Cette recherche engage à prendre la mesure du rôle des différents acteurs dans la conception du livre, non plus seulement l’écrivain et l’artiste mais aussi le typographe, le relieur, l’éditeur ou le galeriste, chaque acteur pouvant lui-même être polyvalent. La porosité des frontières entre les activités, les métiers, engendre naturellement la porosité entre les genres littéraires et artistiques.
The heart of the reflection in this book is the diversity of aesthetic possibilities of the book as material support, from the late nineteenth century to contemporary experiments. The page, the sheet and the book go well beyond the codex and the bound book, in the heterogeneity of their materials, forms and formats (fans, leporellos, poster collections, upright books, book sculptures, exploded books, electronic books, etc.): they are active supports in the design and reception process. This book observes the process of composition and distribution of works in their material singularities, including the role of the different stakeholders in the design of the book, not only the writer and the artist but also the typographer, bookbinder, publisher or gallery owner, each playing a multiplicity of roles. Such porous borders between roles and crafts generate porosity between the literary and artistic genres.
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When the reader wanders through the house-book: From Goncourt’s La Maison d’un artiste (1881) to Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000)

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In the late nineteenth century, just when inexpensive, pocket-sized books were becoming available to an increasing number of readers, the elitist Edmond de Goncourt conceived, in contrast, a strange and elaborate book, the Maison d’un artiste,1 which he saw as the ultimate object of his private collection. Goncourt invites the reader to discover his Auteuil mansion in this work at the crossroads of an exhibition catalogue, an interior design manual, an autobiography and a novel. The text is an exhaustive description of the rooms in the house and of the objects (books, prints, paintings, engravings, etchings, artefacts) collected by the Goncourt brothers. The organization of the text invites the reader to enter the house and wander through the rooms, from the vestibule to the most intimate parts of the house-museum, following a carefully guided tour orchestrated by the author-narrator. Text and house merge in the material object – the book – and the reading experience follows a circumscribed spatialization.

More than a hundred years after this foray into designing the book as a house, Mark Z. Danielewski publishes an intriguing novel entitled House of Leaves (2000).2 The main plot of this dense novel, where the word ‘house’ is intentionally printed in blue throughout the text, revolves around an anomaly observed by the inhabitants of the house of leaves. ← 7 | 8 → When they return from holiday, the Navidsons discover a drastic change in their house: a closet-like space has appeared between their room and the children’s room....

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