What is a ‘page’? A surface or frame containing a written text (alone or associated with other elements) that can be viewed globally or scanned by the eye in such a way that, during reading, all the elements in the frame are likely to interact. The frame, together with the act of reading, gives an organic quality to what would otherwise be a heterogeneous whole.
Taking the frame and its contents as an object of study suppresses some disciplinary divisions: between the document and the book, between texts written and carved, handwritten by a scribe or printed by machine, between writing reserved for functional purposes (administrative, political, economic, technical, ritual), that which is involved in the production and circulation of speculative knowledge, and that which is meant for a poetic reading. The ‘material’ study of text (writing support, graphic and typographic techniques, etc.) can be combined with all the possibilities of philosophical, literary, and sociological approaches to better grasp the multiple dimensions of the written word.
This theme looks to address both visual and linguistic questions, following the path of text from the context of its production to that if its reception, in order better to explore factors ranging from the links between materiality, the visual configuration (including the aesthetic dimension) and the effects of meaning, to the impact on the social sphere, together with processes of resemantisation of text as it is transmitted through time and space (as a given text can be presented in very different layouts throughout its career).
This theme’s object of study is therefore quite specific but at the same time transversal in terms of questions and methods. Beyond its essential topic (writing as visual expression), it also intersects with other themes of Scripta, particularly the materiality of text, the history and circulation of texts, the performativity and operativity of writing. The transversal perspective is central to its aims.
Theme leaders: Isabelle Pantin, Valérie Theis