Welcome to! Home of the really cool pigeons!

As this is my first post on this blog, I feel like I should probably explain what I hope to achieve here. With every post, I’m going to try and show what I’ve gotten out of the Digital Textualities module in each class – or possibly each few classes if I get insanely busy later in the semester, which will probably happen because I’m the queen of unrealistic personal goals and unreasonable commitments. Each post will come with a snapshot of my horrific scribbled notes. Please don’t judge me. Writers are known for having bad handwriting.*** See Appendix A for a shot of George Orwell’s writing and tell me I’m wrong. That’s wildly irrelevant, since it’s from the ENG2093 Prose module I did in second year. And it’s not even an actual excuse because I just remembered it there now. The girl behind me in the library is reading over my shoulder now, probably wondering what the heck I’m doing. Hi there.

ANYWAY. In a bid to get people involved and show them that the degree I’m doing isn’t all Shakespeare and Wordsworth (I don’t even like Shakespeare or Wordsworth), I’m also getting people involved by sending them information about things mentioned in the classes and getting them to make me a video about it. I know, I know. I’m too generous.

As the first post, this post is meant to be about the first lecture. Unfortunately, since I’m writing it after class in the second week (yep, I’m already struggling to keep up with my posts), it’s not as fresh in my head as I’d like it to be, so that’s probably why I’ve used up half of this post rambling about other things. {In case you’re wondering, Stephen, yes: this is what it’d sound like if I actually spoke. It’s terrible, right?}. But if the lecture slides are anything to go by, and I assume they are, it was concerned with three main topics: What a book is, the materiality of texts and the immaterial digital. Let’s go with that.*

In “The Metaphysics of Morals”, Kant explains that “a book is a writing (it does not matter, here, whether it is written by hand or set in type, whether it has few or many pages), which represents a discourse that someone delivers to the public by visible linguistic signs. – One who speaks to the public in his own name is called an author (autor). One who, through a writing, discourses publicly in another’s (the author’s) name is a publisher. When a publisher does this with the author’s permission, he is a legitimate publisher; but if he does it without the author’s permission, he is an illegitimate publisher, that is, an unauthorized publisher**. The sum of all the reproductions of the original writing (the copies) is an edition.” This definition of a book is a very literal one, considering I found this book in the philosophy section, but it’s inarguably correct.

By that logic, books are books, ebooks are books, picture books are books, and the book of life is a metaphor. Books are often used in metaphors because they are fairly universal, and they suggest a narrative. For an extended version of one such metaphor, go listen to “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. It’s probably the most important song in the history of music.

Speaking of songs about books, here’s today’s video, created by mini-me and all-round-legend, George. I am a very proud older cousin.


* I pause my writing here to go and retrieve “The Cambridge Companion to Textual Scholarship”, leading me to climb a flight of stairs up which I had never before climbed (See Appendix B) and end up on this floor (See Appendix C). I got this book for the piece called “What is a Book?”, but actually there’s a bit called “Fearful Asymmetry” by a guy called Random Cloud which I might read first. Possibly because there are lots of pictures and diagrams in it but probably because I like this guy’s style.
I pause again because someone just sat down near me and it sounds like he as a chest infection. It’s very distracting.
I pause again to go and find Immanuel Kant’s “Metaphysics of morals”. Back to the mystery staircase.

** Nachdrucker

*** Entertainingly, or not as the case may be, as soon as I finished this post I came across this post on my dashboard. Today’s letter is H for Handwriting.


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