The Art of the Novel

Fiction is, above all others, the art of artifice. 

From this module I have discovered that the book is not simply a text with a spine. Instead I have found out about books as vellum, parchment leaves, grimoires, memories, meta-fictions, interactive games, e-books… and so on. This has enlightened me into the materiality of the book and it’s non fixed state.

Having previously noted that many forms of books require the reader to do the work, make choices or interact with it, I decided to bring a normal novel to life.

In my last blog I revealed Briony Tallis as the author of Ian McEwan’s Atonement and through my project I have brought her novel to life.

The final section of Atonement has been removed and instead has been created into diary/letter form to reflect the personal element of this section, but to also separate it from the main novel to make Briony’s book really come to life. Like Nox, I recreated images, formed tears on specific lines and also made my handwriting more messy to look like a more authentic diary.

Within the novel there are many various forms of writing: love letters, critics and plays. To remove the ‘assumed fixity’ of the book I have turned these elements into essentially interactive fiction for the reader.

Similarly, Atonement is filled with intertextuality and a lot of it has been purposely mentioned. Instead if having the readers simple read about Auden, I wanted to give the reader Auden. Almost like a modern-day interactive fiction. Atonement is essentially a book that comments on the art of the novel and all that goes into it, even if that means borrowing a few pieces from here and there.

This was perhaps most evident in part two and three of Atonement, so in turn I restored these parts (or some) of them to their original authors, such as Lucilla Andrews.

Essentially, my aim was to make a project to reflect what I have discovered on this module. Books are objects. They can be in any shape or form. They are what the reader makes of them. Following on from my ‘Death of the author’ blogs, I wanted to explore this within my project. I believe I have done thus through removing Ian McEwan completely from the process and instead have left a memoir of Briony Tallis and her Two Figures by a Fountain. As Briony is unable to publish her book during her life, I have created this box as a memory of her, through her novel, her first play, her thoughts and two poems by Auden about the novelist and happy endings. Overall, I have transformed Atonement into a completely different form to essentially bring Briony’s book alive and to remove the real author, as now the reader can choose if they read the real truth of Atonement.

In reflection of this project, there were many demanding tasks involved.

– Trying to transform a reasonably lengthy novel was challenging as it took a lot of time trying to find the intertextuality, composing various letters, researching various novels and deciding which parts were the most important.

– Deciding on what form to produce Briony’s 1999 section was interesting, but eventually I decided upon a diary/letter blend as best for such a personal matter.

– With all the added intertextuality, snippets and letters, it was difficult to retain the novel’s neatness as my brain is a lot more creative than my hands.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this module and project. As I really enjoy interactive books with letters and various materials, I couldn’t wait to transform my own. This module has only enhanced my love for books and I have enjoyed having my own voice on the topic , whilst making me wonder where the book is headed. For now I believe it’s firmly here to stay, even if the author leaves and the e-book continues…

 

Advertisements

Bringing the Book to Life.

Now that we’ve essentially killed an author or two (read the previous two blogs…), it’s time to bring the book to life. 

Or well… at least bring my project to life. 

At the beginning of this module, I didn’t know what exactly to expect. I thought we might be looking at a few history critics and exploring a bit on the internet. But instead, my appreciation for the book as an object has increasingly grown. I have realised that each book has a way that it wants to be presented and this generally reflects the story.

Pale Fire tormented us with its demand to read the commentary before the poem and made us question the unreliable narrator. However, through this, we were only made more clear that it is the reader who holds the choice and power. Whilst, Nox provided the clear argument that books have no fixity, but also created the argument between art and artifice.

Moving on to modernism and post-modernism, we were able to view how authors have played with form and presentation. This is something that I have thought about when planning my project. I do not want to simply ‘make a book,’ but instead, I want to bring a book to life. Playing with intertextuality and materiality.

I have chosen to reflect the module concerns through my own version or rather Briony Tallis’s version of Ian McEwan’s Atonement.

P.S. SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!

914SCc2VgiL

Now that anyone who hasn’t read one of my favourite novels ever has left this blog to go buy, read, steal (from your friends obviously!) and love Atonement, we can get down to business.

Ok, so as many of you know Atonement has a seriously heart-wrenching twist at the end, (think Game of Thrones Red Wedding… but maybe toned down a little). Briony Tallis reveals that the first three sections of the novel have in fact been her own creation and atonement in order to create her own reality. I’ll explain the plot quickly in case anyone has sneakily read on… In the first section, Briony is a thirteen-year-old writing fanatic, she loves writing stories, making them up in her head and sometimes (unfortunately) sharing this fiction. She, unfortunately, reads a very inappropriate and accidental letter that was meant for her sister. She immediately regards the sender, Robbie, as a maniac and blames him for the rape of her cousin. Essentially, Robbie is sent to prison for a crime he doesn’t commit and is kept apart from his true love, Briony’s sister, Cecilia. Part two is based in Dunkirk where Robbie is now a soldier but continues to write love letters to Cecilia. Ian McEwan basically researched this whole part of the novel, using inspiration from the likes of Gregory Blaxland (Destination Dunkirk) and Walter Lord (The Miracle of Dunkirk). Similarly, in part three when Briony has become a nurse, Ian used inspiration from Lucilla Andrews’s autobiography, No Time for Romance. However, there was some controversy about this section as Andrews argues that she was not given enough credit for McEwan’s ‘copying,’ In this section, Briony finally meets with Cecilia and Robbie, happy that they are finally together, and apologises for what she has done, promising to try and fix the mistake as she knows it wasn’t actually Robbie who raped her cousin. And happily ever after….

Or at least that’s what you think until you turn the page to reveal a section titled, London 1999. 

This is where McEwan reveals his metanarrative to shock his readers and destroy any hopes of a happy ending. Briony reveals that Cecilia and Robbie are actually dead. Grab the tissues 😦 As mentioned before, she also tells us that this her novel and her way to atone for her sins (of writing in the first place.) She reflects that she wants to give them a happy ending in some format, even if she destroyed that chance in real life. She even reveals that it was Paul Marshall who raped (his now wife) Lola, but that she can’t publish the novel until they’re both dead, for legal reasons. Briony also reveals she has vascular dementia (remember death of the author?) and will soon ironically lose her memory that was the cause of this problem in the first place.

This is the section that has inspired me most for my project. The meta-narrative at the back of Atonement could be easily missed for maybe a note from the real author, something I personally don’t read unless I’m using the book for study reasons. However, when read, it changes the story completely for the reader. I want to play around with the form of this and completely bring the novel to life as Briony Tallis’s own creation. Like Nox, I want to make the book more intimate and real for the readers, as I further my investigation into the death of the author.

Throughout Atonement, there is intertextuality, intertextuality, and MORE intertextuality. It’s essentially a book about a book about books… Confused yet?

I hope to explore this more and also bring these elements to life, allowing the reader to explore them while they also read the novel.

Essentially, I hope to show the non-fixity and instability of the novel, whilst turning it into that book-as-an-object we talked about in week 1. Focusing on the materiality of the book and giving the reader the power in what they choose to read.

A novelist is always engaged in the complex dance between the real and the ideal, manipulating and re-ordering detail…

 

The Poetics and Politics of Code

Have you ever tried to code?

It’s quite a clever mode.

With letters, numbers, and symbols…

Ok, so this isn’t actually a poem about coding – even if that was an awful attempt – but yes, you read the title right, I said the words poetics and code in the same sentence.

Ironically, for this week’s lectures, I forgot my notebook and had to make all of my notes on my iPaIMG_1256d (to my distaste). In turn, becoming part of the digital revolution. Although, that might be a slight exaggeration on my behalf. 

The real focus of the lecture was to discuss is code poetic or aesthetic.

(Yes, I found this piece of gold in Oxfam books on Botanic Street.)

According to Catherine Hale’s studies and this week’s lessons, our culture is in decline due to the consequences of the digital age we are in. Shaking this off as an insult, ironically around 99% of the lecture hall raised their hands when asked who owned an Instagram account. Guilty as charged. Hence, proving this so-called ‘appeal’ for  the visual and removal of the written world and transition into a ‘Digital world and age.’

Although, a filtered image or two may actually be appealing to the avid reader, looking at an HTML page was a whole different story. (If you ask me, it was like going to the opticians for another eye test.) Again, focusing on the aesthetics and politics, we were led down a different path. Is code a magical language? In a way, we discovered that it can be. In a way, it conjures an action into being.

Looking at the discourse of code, we also wondered does code communicate. Or is seen as something instructional instead? Code facilitates as a language of freedom, versatility, and openness. This language, however, is also facilitated by instructions that are hidden from the user, but also instructions that are generally incomprehensible to the user.

Looking at a standard web page, we are able to right-click and view a source, but then are we able to communicate with it, whilst understanding it? Through this, a potted history can be revealed. A history of argument and debates about what should constitute computer rendered discourse.

This ‘history’ is exactly what constitutes our privacy, but as Mark Zuckerberg states: Privacy is over. We have discovered that a world of literature is full of selfhood and that privacy is no longer relevant. Instead, we use things like google every day where the consumer becomes the product as third parties try to sell us everything and anything from our search history. Again, enabling the user experience in this digital era.

Looking at the politics, code inevitably argues that we move towards audible literature. That we are living in a code constructed universe. Instead of reading simple words, we are actually reading code in translation, through looking at Facebook or buying products online.

As part of this week’s lessons, we completed a coding session where we attempted to make our own little web page. As I count myself a bit of an anti-digital whiz, this sounded a bit daunting but during the lesson I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the whole process was and how unaware I was off the process that went into any online document. Without realising it, we are reading code every day completely oblivious. This is perhaps a sentence no English student ever thought they would hear. It is part of every piece of electronic literature and website that we come across. Although it might not come across as an obvious ‘language,’ I do believe it shouldn’t be taken for granted and once again it is interesting to see how far we have come, in this day and age, in producing various forms of fiction or literature.

 

Death of the Author 2.0?

WARNING: No authors were harmed in the making of the blog post.

Have you ever noticed when you’re aimlessly scrolling through Facebook an advertisement randomly pops up, only it’s not random… But instead, you are haunted by that dress you were debating over from Zara or perhaps even something from your Amazon wish list. This is a clear example of the kind of Facebook filter bubble that we are so subconsciously accustomed to that we fail to even notice it’s purpose. In today’s society, almost everything is user-friendly.

Week 8’s lectures focused on Interactive Fiction, Interface and Hypertext. Interface is a device or programme that enables a user to communicate with a computer. Thinking back to my childhood I  immediately remembered what  I called my favourite primary school computer gameStig of the Dump. Although to me this had been a ‘game,’ I now realise that this is a prime example of Interactive Fiction. Having various options of routes or actions I was able to explore, progress and get involved within the story.

Related image

This experience also reminded me of playing Cluedo on the computer, where I was given clues and able to decide from various options what action I wished to perform. However, what is similar about both of these IFs is the fact that although you are given the ‘idea’ of freedom, every action has a set reaction or consequence already programmed into it.

This might resonate with some ideas of fixity, but ultimately these are very real examples of texts in motion.

Similarly, this week’s readings appeared as works of blended multimodality of digital art with text to challenge both writers and users. This immediately removes the idea of the fixed text or book, again arguing that as time moves on the book has no set rules or regulations. Looking at Device 6 it was clear to see that this was a digital quest narrative, whilst PRY required to the reader to instead open screens, zoom in, zoom out and constantly interact with the screen.

At first, this was interesting and had the appeal of being unique. After around ten minutes the appeal was gone. Maybe this is just my opinion but on a small screen, this is tedious and completely removes the importance of the text. After a few minutes, I had long forgotten the plot and I was completely focused on the various interactions that were required. Perhaps on an IPad or large screen, this would be engaging and appealing, but for now, I’ll stick with my nice hardback paper book.

Interactive fiction originates from Hypertext, however, we have already discussed the rise and fall of hypertext fiction. This has started to fully disappear and instead has been replaced in computer narratives. Gaming, simulation or role-play games have proved popular whether it is The Sims, Call of Duty or even something like Animal Crossing (used to be a personal fave). However, this has all originated from the idea that the ‘user’ is mainly a ‘consumer who needs to be satisfied and kept engaged’ (Ben Shneidermn’s user in Ducker 142).

During around the 1980s the world was divided into those who wanted to look through and those who wanted to look at their displays (Druker 142). Inevitably, consumers were now becoming users who needed to be stimulated and entertained by a realistic product.

Adam Hammond, who discusses the Rise and Fall of Hypertext, argues that “a reader moves through a book by turning pages, these interactive digital forms require direct input from their reader in order to move from one chunk of the text (lexia) to the next (Hammond 154).

Evidently, we are back with this idea of “the death of the author” as this form of the book is completely unbound, unfixed and has no stability. Instead, the freedom lies with the reader. There are options to change chapters, skip moments, focus on interactions over text, or even type in actual commands.

Bolger and Landow state that the two most important changes with this new form of ‘book’ were the interactive engagement of the reader and the elimination of the linear plot (158). Arguing that the text is no longer simply an expression of the author, but instead, the reader is needed to help make the text (although I’m not sure we get any actual profit for book sales).

Overall, it is interesting to discover how far the book has come. From something that was created on papyrus or real human skin, to something that has been digitalised and available on an electronic platform. Removed from a fixed and stable state, and instead disguised under endless options of user-friendly and asethically pleasing apps or digital books. However, can something be said for the iBooks endlessly trying to look like a real book? Are we really ready for a digital world of literature without the author? I know where my preference lies… *sits clutching my hard and paperback books in terror*

Death of the Author

You might be wondering what exactly I mean by the title of this blog. But don’t worry it’s all a little allegorical.

This week’s lessons involved the introduction of modernism into the module. Looking at Stephane Mallarme (1842-1898), one of the most important French poets in the 19th century, who experimented with form and presentation, was both stimulating and puzzling. His poem, Throw of the Dice reflected that a pattern within the form of a poem was key to the interpretation function of poetry. He actually got his inspiration from the template of printing advertisements in a newspaper and applied it to poetry.Image result for a throw of the dice stephane mallarme He experiments with shape and form. The want for a book to have dynamic relations in his art, as they don’t just want a book to be read from start to finish.

Here, the aesthetic of text is being developed to reflect the sensuous relationship the book has, and in turn, it’s textuality.

Following on from this we discussed Modernism. This genre requires us to do the real work as it makes an assault on realism and plays on from.

On the other hand, Post-Modernism challenges the reader to be an active co-creator of meaning rather than simply a passive consumer (Nichol, 2009). It is about playing, as much as it is about reading. We noted how World War 2 was a huge catalyst for creating questions, such as how is it possible to recreate and represent the horror of the war in poetry? This was seen as real life crisis in literature after the Holocaust. What was perhaps most interesting, was when our lecturer Stephen asked us what did we think was the modern alternative to this?

It was in fact, the climate crisis. How can a realist mode of fiction deal with the real climate crisis without it appearing as an intrusion of a fantastical event within a novel? We simply don’t have literary forms able to address it? If you are interested in this topical debate, Amitav Ghosh writes an infomative account of this crisis for the guardian. He asks where is the fiction about climate change and notes that this is also a crisis of culture and the imagination. Noting that even the finest prose stylists, such as Arundhati Roy, place all their writings about the crisis in various forms of non-fiction. (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/28/amitav-ghosh-where-is-the-fiction-about-climate-change-)

Going back to the title of this blog, it is actually inspired by Roland Barthes’s The Death of the Author. Roland brings us back to this allegorical sense of books. He demands to get rid of the author and how they only have a limited authority over the text. Similarly, we looked at Michel de Cateau’s Reading as Poaching in The Practice of Everyday Life (174). Cateau reflects on what he thinks is the actual relationship between the readers and the text. He states that it is up to the reader to make sense of the text, rather than the author. Again it is evident there is a non-fixity associated with the reader and regardless of how fixed text is, the reader can ignore this. Even when the text creates rules of authority, the reader can do what they want with these rules and in turn have their own interpretation.

Image result for nox anne carson

This week’s set text, Nox (2010), by Anne Carson intimately reflects this. It is a photography reproduction and seen by some as having an affective dimension. Reading the text, I viewed it as a memoir, but not intimate. It involved on the left pages a translation of Cataullus 101, whilst on the right page, it features Carson’s memories of her brother and some of her own notes or letters. However, as I read this book I did not find myself getting emotionally caught up within the pages. I couldn’t decide if this was because not only did I not know her brother, but nor did she. When I first flicked through the book I saw glimpses of letters and pictures. I was drawn in by this intimacy. But, upon reading I found that they were mere clues and impersonal memories. I had expected detail and fond memories, instead I was met with a sad, empty feeling.

Although, this might come across harsh, at second glimpse I wonder is this the whole point of Nox. We are left with a feeling of sadness because we can’t comprehend how exactly we feel about this loss. Is this exactly how Carson want’s us to feel? She doesn’t seem to know how she should feel herself and does she want her reader to, in turn, feel this same feeling? If so, this has been very clever in my opinion. In fact, the added confusion of the Catullus 101, results in more confusion about emotions and feelings over this brother’s death. This is my interpretation of the Nox, even if it is not Carson’s objective. I believe this book is a form of consolation for Nox as she is lost in these feelings of mourning a brother she evidently did not know.

Yet, if we look at the argument of authenticity and artifice, it is clear that the many elements of the book have been highly designed. From the shadows being produced to the placement of the tears within the poem. Are these real tears? Or have they been aesthetically placed? For example, one of the main tears completely blurs out the word brother, can we really say this was not done for effect?

In other words, we are looking at this piece of work for consumer consumption. Why would such an intimate piece have been published and try so hard to look realistic? If we, as readers, are allowed to be the real voice of the book, do we argue that this is an intimate, emotionally moving piece, or do we decide that this has been manipulated into a piece of art and materially, hence taking away the intimacy and realism that has been tried so hard to achieve? Or do we just admire it for exactly that? For leaving the meaning of it completely ambiguous, for giving us no rules or reasons, but instead, a piece of art and literature that can evoke any form of meaning and emotion from the reader. Here, is the non-fixity of literature and the death of the author, as we, the reader, make our interpretation.

However, it is, in fact, the materiality of this book that creates it as a living, existing memory of Carson’s brother. Can it be argued that the object-style of this book has an impact on the reading experience and doesn’t just create it as a consumer-friendly book instead? Yes, notably this book is not cheap due to its form. But would the book still evoke the same feelings if it was a simple bound book? I hope to look at form and materiality further in this module as I think about my own ideas about creating a project.

References:

(https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/28/amitav-ghosh-where-is-the-fiction-about-climate-change-)

Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author” In Image, Music, Text, p. 143. PQ2603.A57 IMAG

Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life. California: University of California Press, 1984.

 

Finding Meaning in Instability

This week’s lectures covered Commentary and the instability of text. When we look at text we often try to find our own meanings and interpretations, and we usually accept our versions at face value. However, Umberto Eco states that we fail in finding the definition of meaning if you assume you have found the definition. (Pretty mind-boggling stuff am I right?) Our response to allegory is in fact, an allegory! We can pretty much find meaning in everything and anything. Interpretation is essentially a ghostic game. Hence, can text really have any fixity or stability? However, is commentary the answer to this instead. Marveling over this week’s set text, Pale Fire, lead to more questions and but also some new resolutions.

As I opened Pale Fire, I was as excited about starting this ‘poem‘ (or so I thought) and reading its commentary, as I was about 9 am lectures. However, as I started the foreword as I was pleasantly surprised. There is a large choir singing at my door. (Lol – anyone? just me? Ok.) This wasn’t your usual opening, yes it included the ‘there are 999 lines blah…’ but we also met the mystifying Charles Kinbote. A man who has, not one, but two ping-pong tables in his basement and spies on his neighbour for ‘first-rate entertainment.’ Personally, he reminded me of every creepy neighbour from every scary movie. Ever.

What’s most notable about the ‘novel’ is the structure. At the end of the foreword we are instructed to skip to the commentary and then read the poem. Does this not completely contradict literature as we know it? Reading someone else’s interpretation of a text before we make our own?  Kinbote tells us that it is the ‘commentator who has the last word.’

Skipping to the commentary (in fear of Kinbote) I was again surprised to not hear any of the poet’s ideas behind his work, but instead, read Kinbote take all the credit for the poem, whilst also throwing in essentially a full novel about the mysterious Zembla and its exiled King. Essentially, I thought I would hate this book but as I got through it I began to enjoy it more and more, due to the fact I couldn’t decide if it was incredibly clever or else satirising every piece of literature and commentary ever.

In a chapter by Frans van Liere called the Commentary Tradition, Liere relates back to the middle ages and the use of bible commentary within the medieval community. He states that Augustine and Jerome exerted the greatest influence on the medieval commentary tradition and how they used it a form of authority for their own words (Liere 142). Commentary was also used to transform the ‘rich patristic heritage’ of the bible into a ‘readily accessible corpus of biblical commentary (Liere 144). Hence, commentary was also used for accessibility and availability. Yet in Pale Fire, Nabokov and Kinbote choose to mock this through his commentary and by showing  Kinbote’s authority over the poem due to his commentary.

Hence, if we think about Kinbote as an unreliable narrator we can somehow relate him to a lot of other fictional narrators. Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye), Briony Tallis (Atonement), Marlow (Heart of Darkness) and Huck Finn (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) are just some of the crooks. They either make us aware of their lies or become sucked up into their web. They choose to tell us what they want us to read and how we should read it, rather than letting us face the reality. Instead, we are able to usually make our own interpretations of these lies or sometimes find out the truth at the end. Kinbote instead chooses to wrap himself up in his fiction and immediately we have to question what is real and what is fantasy? Does Zembla or King Charles even exist?

These metafictions afford us the opportunity into the narrator’s imaginations, leaving reality far behind. We begin to question everything within the book and if we can really trust everything we read? Or if we stick the title ‘commentary’ above something is it authentic or simply a satire of all of the above? Personally, I find metafiction engaging and quite thrilling to read. It reminds me of my Lemony Snicket childhood obsession and how hearing the author or narrator speak within the work can shape a fiction into anything they want, transporting the reader into a world of the fantastical and imagination.

Looking at fiction that includes commentary is always a little tricky to wrap your head around, but usually, when you get on the same page as the narrator you can quickly move into their fantasy world. I think it is usually a genre that you either love or hate, and get confused by either way. The commentary demands authority and fixity, but in reality, our interpretation of it reveals instability. We easily don’t believe or agree with everything Kinbote tells us, and instead question why Nabokov has chosen to take away from the poem entirely? In fact, the reader even has the opportunity to read the novel/poem/commentary in whatever order they want. There is no real authority present stopping the reader from starting with the poem and making their own interpretation of that alone? This is one of the very real concerns I have been made aware of within this project, is there really any fixity or stability within text?

However, I do believe novels that include commentary or take on the genre of metafiction could create a great project for this module. The opportunities are endless and I plan to explore this genre a lot more within this blog. There is a loud drum outside my window… Still not funny? I’ll stop, just because I have a novel to finish and Shade’s murder to solve.

Reference

Liere, Frans van. An Introduction to the Medieval Bible. Cambridge: CUP, 2014

First Impressions

“Bring your favourite book.”

Those two little words. Favourite Book. Every self-confessed book nerimg_5723d’s worst nightmare. How do I pick just one? Having been asked this question numerous (at least one hundred) times and never coming up with one solid answer, I was not looking forward to hunting mine down for class. However, here the instructions were very different.

“Please note: not your favourite text, but your favourite book-as-object.”

A book as an object? Looking at my bookshelf I consciously noticed every spine, hardback cover and illustration like never before. I was judging my books on their aesthetics, over their text. But could I really just pick a book based on what it looked like? I decided my favourite book-as-object should be one that not only looks nice, but that means something to me. My first thought was to grab my sacred Harry Potters that had begun as tattered charity shop purchases, only to turn into perfect editions that I had queued for -much to my Mum’s distaste.

Finally, I img_5727decided upon a book from my Great-great Auntie, ‘The Tale of Beatrix Potter: A biography.’ As a child, I had read the tales of Peter Rabbit over and over again, so this gift had been particularly special. The book itself was full of photographs and letters from Beatrix herself. The pages are not quite smooth, but instead, have a hardening texture and are yellowing. But to me, this is where the appeal lies. The vintage look of the book is personally aesthetically pleasing and I enjoy the different textures of the letters and photographs. Having been produced in 1948 and now handed down to me, it had a warm sentimental feeling of my childhood and family attached to it.

Before this task, I had always counted myself as a text-snob. Someone who didn’t look at the cover, binding, texture or pages. However, it is evident that perhaps separating the text and the book is not always possible. (I’m talking particularly about those of us who are hard- or paperback snobs.) I quickly became aware that I did judge books as objects, looking at the cover before reading the blurb.

Visiting the Special Collections section in the McClay library only enhanced these thoughts further. Never before had I thought so much about the process of how the book was made, or the fact there was are so many types. Between actual vellum or leaves being stitched together, to books that had spikes and locked covers, I was in a whole new library I had never discovered. Observing a first edition Ulysses that costs just over my university tuition was mind blowing, whilst viewing the perfect gold leaf spine proved its value. Books were and are something that are made to perfection. Each has its own goal on how it wants to be presented and some even reflect their story through this.

Deciding now that books are more than just a piece of text thrown inside a glossy cover, I am excited and challenged by my own opportunity of getting to create my own book. My own chance to recreate a Shakespeare anthology, a J.D.Salinger text or a metafiction like Atonement are just some of the ideas that have crossed my mind. Even the idea of recreating a musical on leaves similar to that of the piece found in Special Collections.

Who knows where this project will lead?