Distributed and Conditional Documents: Conceptualizing Bibliographical Alterities

  • Johanna Drucker University of California, Los Angeles

Abstract

To conceptualize a future history of the book we have to recognize that our understanding of the bibliographical object of the past is challenged by the ontologically unbound, distributed, digital, and networked conditions of the present. As we draw on rich intellectual traditions, we must keep in view the need to let go of the object-centered approach that is at the heart of book history. My argument begins, therefore, with a few assertions. First, that we have much to learn from the scholarship on Old and New World contact that touches on bibliography, document studies, and book history for formulating a non-object centered conception of what a book is. Second, that the insights from these studies can be usefully combined with a theory of the “conditional” document to develop the model of the kinds of distributed artifacts we encounter on a daily basis in the networked conditions of current practices. Finally, I would suggest that this model provides a different conception of artifacts (books, documents, works of textual or graphic art), one in which reception is production and therefore all materiality is subject to performative engagement within varied, and specific, conditions of encounter.

 

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14195/2182-8830_2-1_1

  • Abstract viewed = 183 times
  • HTML viewed = 141 times
  • PDF viewed = 120 times

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Johanna Drucker, University of California, Los Angeles

Johanna Drucker is the inaugural Martin and Bernard Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies in the Department of Information Studies at UCLA. She has lectured and published widely on matters related to the history of print, visual poetry, artists’ books, graphic design, digital aesthetics, and contemporary art. In addition to her scholarly work, she is known for her artist’s books, many of which involve innovative typography. Her most recent publications include Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity (University of Chicago Press, 2005), Graphic Design History: A Critical Guide, with Emily McVarish (Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2008), SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Speculative Computing (University of Chicago Press, 2009), What Is?: Nine Epistemological Essays (Cuneiform Press, 2013), and Graphesis: The Visual Production of Knowledge in a Digital Era (Harvard University Press, 2014).

References

BARKER, Nicolas, and Thomas Adams (1993). “A New Model for the Study of the Book.” A Potencie of Life: Books in Society. Ed. Nicolas Barker. London: British Library.

BOONE, Elizabeth Hill, and Walter D. Mignolo, eds. (1994). Writing Without Words: Alternative Literacies in Mesoamerica and the Andes. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

CHARTIER, Roger (1992). The Order of Books. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

DARNTON, Robert (1982). “What is the History of Books” Daedalus 111: 65-83.

DERRIDA, Jacques (1996). Of Grammatology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

DIAMOND, Jared (1998). Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

DIRINGER, David (1948). The Alphabet: A Key to the History of Mankind. New York: Philosophical Library.

DONAHUE, Betty Booth (2011). Bradford’s Indian Book: Being the True Roote & Rise of American Letters as Revealed by the Native Text Embedded in Of Plimoth Plantation. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

DRUCKER, Johanna (2009). SpecLab: Digital Aesthetics and Projects in Speculative Computing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

DRUCKER, Johanna (2013). “Performative Materiality and Theoretical Approaches to Interface.” DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly 7.1. http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/7/1/000143/000143.html

FEBVRE, Lucien, and Henri-Jean Martin (1976). The Coming of the Book: The Impact of Printing 1450-1800. NY: Verso. [First published, Paris: Editions Albin Michel, 1958].

FOSTER, Charles (1851-1854). The One Primeval Alphabet. London: R. Bentley.

FRASER, Robert (2008). The Book through Post-Colonial Eyes: Rewriting the Script. London: Routledge.

GELB, Ignace (1963). A Study of Writing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

GOODY, Jack (1987). The Interface between the Written and the Oral. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

JOHNS, Adrian (1998). The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

KIRSCHENBAUM, Matthew (2008). Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

MCGANN, Jerome (1983). A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism. Chicago: University of Chicago.

MCGANN, Jerome (2001). Radiant Textuality: Literature after the World Wide Web. London: Palgrave.

MCKENZIE, D.F. (1986). Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts. London: British Library.

MCLUHAN, Marshall (1962). Gutenberg Galaxy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

MCLUHAN, Marshall (1967). The Medium is the Massage. New York: Bantam Books.

MCMURTRIE, Douglas (1943). The Book: The Story of Printing and Bookmaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

MIGNOLO, Walter D. (1995). The Darker Side of the Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, & Colonization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

ONG, Walter (1982). Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. London: Methuen.

PETRUCCI, Armando (1993). Public Lettering: Script, Power, and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

RASMUSSEN, Birgit Brander (2012). Queequeg’s Coffin: Indigenous Literacies and Early American Literature. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

ROUND, Phillip (2010). Removable Type: Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

SUAREZ, Michael (2003-2004). “Historiographical Problems and Possibili-ties in Book History and National Histories of the Book.” Studies in Bibliography 56: 141-170.

TEDLOCK, Dennis (1993). Spoken Word and the Work of Interpretation. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

UPWARD, Frank (1996). “Structuring the Records Continuum - Part One: Postcustodial principles and properties.” Archives and Manuscripts 24.2: 268-287.
Published
2014-11-08
How to Cite
DRUCKER, Johanna. Distributed and Conditional Documents: Conceptualizing Bibliographical Alterities. MATLIT: Materialities of Literature, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 1, p. 11-29, nov. 2014. ISSN 2182-8830. Available at: <https://impactum-journals.uc.pt/matlit/article/view/1891>. Date accessed: 23 apr. 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.14195/2182-8830.
Section
Secção Temática | Thematic Section

Keywords

Conditional Document; Bibliographic Alterity; Book History