Print, Script, Image
Suggested Assigned Readings
Harold Love, “Oral and Scribal Texts in Early Modern England” in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain vol. IV (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 97-121.
William Sherman, “The Reader’s Eye: Between Annotation and Illustration” (delivered at Columbia University, 2014).
Examine the ways that marginalia interact with all aspects of a printed book.
Discuss the different ways that images could be “read” and used in connection with the other elements of a page.
Critique the theoretical approaches to interpreting visual marginalia by referring to specific examples in the AOR corpus.
Examine the following case studies. Clicking on either the links in each step or the manicule icons will load the appropriate page in the AOR viewer.
1. John Dee Draws Connections
A drawing of a ship in full sail appears on page 213 of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Opera (vol. 2, Paris, 1539), next to a verse from the Argonautica. How might the printed text of the book (the full text of the poem can be found here) explain the drawing of the ship, and this annotation of a different character than the others on the page? In other words, if you read either the text of Cicero or the text of the marginalia by itself, why might you think this picture is here?
The poem concludes on the following page (which can also be navigated to using the forward buttons in the viewer).
Other drawings of ships that looks quite different from this one can be found in the Cicero volume, for example on page 189. What do you think might account for the differences in detail and execution in the first example?
2. Gabriel Harvey Comments on a Printer’s Device
The printer’s device in Lodovico Domenichi’s Facetie (Venice, 1571) depicts two eagles, a mother and her chick, looking into the sun. According to ancient and medieval authors, eagles were the only animals who could do this, and a mother would only allow her chicks that could do so to survive. How does Harvey interpret the emblem? Does the text (either Harvey’s handwritten text or the printed “sic crede” make sense without the image?
3. Gabriel Harvey and John Dee Augment Their Title Pages
How do Gabriel Harvey’s annotations on the title page of Baldassare Castiglione’s The covrtyer take advantage of the images that are already there?
John Dee’s comments on the allegorical title page of Johannes Pantheus’s Voarchadumia (Venice, 1530) have an altogether different purpose. What sort of interpretation is taking place here, and how does it make use of the imagery?
4. Are There More? Looking for Visual Marginalia
A corpus-wide search for the drawing type “face” returns the following hits. How do the drawings differ across books and readers? What purposes might they serve for each?
Using the drawing filters, locate one other example of a picture interacting with the printed or handwritten text on the book. What can this tell us about the practice of locating, depicting, or critiquing information?
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Questions for Discussion
How are text, marginalia, and image working together in each of the case studies?
What bases do we have for studying non-verbal notes, marks, and images in print books?
How does the iconography in printers’ marks speak to their participation in Renaissance social and intellectual culture?
What risks are inherent in privileging one form of evidence in a book over another. How might we avoid them?