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Literature CFPs for RSA 2018 New Orleans
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Scanning the Page: Mise-en-Page and Textuality in Early Modern Print

Posted By Taylor Clement, Saturday, April 22, 2017

The purpose of this session is to investigate the interface of the page in the early modern printed book. From D. F. Mckenzie’s Bibliography and Sociology of Texts (1986) to Bonnie Mak’s How the Page Matters (2011), many bibliographic and textual studies focus on the importance and materiality of the page. The page presents a two-dimensional (or, in cases of flap books and volvelles, three-dimensional) space in which readers engage not only with verbal language, but also with various other signs and shapes, including blank space, printer’s flowers, punctuation marks, manicules, borders, illustrations, letter forms, etc. These forms and shapes on the page are not incidental to the text they accompany; readers simultaneously process words, layout, and images as they navigate books and pages. This panel session thus seeks to further explore the visual arrangement of media on the page and the various early modern print conventions that function as modes of expression or set parameters for readers’ engagement with ideas.

We invite paper proposals that investigate ways in which early modern mise-en-page signifies to readers of printed lyric anthologies, plays, prose treaties, emblem books, pastoral poetry, translations, and a multitude of other works. How do the inked marks beyond those of verbal language actively engage readers in meaning-making between the visual and verbal elements? How do these marks blur the boundaries between text and paratext? What is the potential of the early modern page to be read as an image? What can printed marks tell us about early modern graphic design in printing houses, and how do printers shape the reading experience through size, shapes, layout and other features of the page?

Submissions from all disciplines are welcome.

Please submit your paper proposal no later than 20 May 2017 to Deborah Solomon at Each proposal must include the following:


Tags:  book history  illustration  printing  textuality  typography  visual culture 

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