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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)

Series:

Isabelle Chol and Jean Khalfa

L’étonnante diversité des possibilités esthétiques offertes par le livre comme support matériel de la fin du XIXe 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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Liberature: Literature in the space of the book

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In Aeropagitica Milton brings up an image of the book as ‘a violl’ that preserves ‘the purest efficacie and extraction of the living intellect’.1 Distinguished bibliographer and textual scholar D.F. McKenzie suggests that this metaphor points to the spiritual and immaterial nature of texts and the postulate that the book as a textual container should remain perfectly transparent to the reader’s perception.2 This implies that it should be as unobtrusive as possible, that the shape of the book, its typography and layout should not get into view or distract the reader, competing for his attention with words. Zenon Fajfer’s Spoglądając przez ozonową dziurę3 (2004, 2009; see Fig. 4) may be seen as a provocative response to such an attitude: not only is the book cover made of transparent glass and takes on an ironic form of a ‘vial’, but also the text of the poem contained in it is printed on a transparent sheet of plastic, as if to comply with Milton’s postulate. However, its strikingly unconventional shape immediately draws the readers’ attention to itself and raises the question about the relation between the text and the material space it occupies. Moreover, the title refers to looking and seeing, thereby hinting at the visible and the invisible, the exposed and the concealed, the clear and the opaque, which are thematic tensions crucial for the poem. Hence, the see-through form of the poem immediately problematizes the typically presupposed immateriality of literary text. ← 25 | 26 →

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