There’s more to a page than the words on it. There’s more to a word than the letters it is made up of. There’s more to a letter than the sound it stands for.
Unless it’s a Kindle, the book page will always be more than the sum of its parts.
The dualism of body and mind cuts right through the printed page. Form and function, meanind and embodied text. We like to think that one can be without the other. Estheticism or pure intellection. Hermeneutics or art. Scholarship or iconography.
The printed page was born with a cry of beauty. It emerged out of the frantic gestures of a scribe into the strictures of the wooden press. Like wine, the energy of an age was squeezed into juice by the innovators of a cultural dawn.
The architects of the printed world had no idea what they gave birth to. For half a century, the printed word was a simulacrum of handicraft, as the first printed books of the fading middle ages looked and felt like the books of a world already perceived to be old and disposable. As the printed page sought to find its own voice and identity, the world became hungrier than ever. Hungry for more words, more meaning, more pages. The printing press took the world by surprise and everyone rushed to adopt it, more rapidly than most other human technology on record. And its impact was felt almost immediately.
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