Reading by Design: The Visual Interface of the English Renaissance Book

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University of Toronto Press, Apr 29, 2019 - History - 304 pages

Renaissance readers perceived the print book as both a thing and a medium - a thing that could be broken or reassembled, and a visual medium that had the power to reflect, transform, or deceive. At the same historical moment that print books remediated the visual and material structures of manuscript and oral rhetoric, the relationship between vision and perception was fundamentally called into question.

Investigating this crisis of perception, Pauline Reid argues that the visual crisis that suffuses early modern English thought also imbricates sixteenth- and seventeenth-century print materials. These vision troubles in turn influenced how early modern books and readers interacted. Platonic, Aristotelian, and empirical models of sight vied with one another in a culture where vision had a tenuous relationship to external reality. Through situating early modern books' design elements, such as woodcuts, engravings, page borders, and layouts, as important rhetorical components of the text, Reading by Design articulates how the early modern book responded to epistemological crises of perception and competing theories of sight.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Rhetorical Vision and Imagination in William Caxtons Mirrour and Description of the World and Stephen Hawess Pastime of Pleasure
23
2 Memory Machines or Ephemera? Early Modern Annotated Almanacs Edmund Spensers Shepheardes Calender and the Problem of Recollection
62
Polyolbion s Troubled Boundaries
113
Duplication Duality Duplicity
158
The Crisis of Visual Ecologies in Shakespeares 2 Henry VI
196
Mediated Vision
224
Notes
233
Bibliography
255
Index
279
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Pauline Reid is an assistant teaching professor at the University of Denver's Writing Program.

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