Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Follow up to weeks 1 and 2

Normally I'll post a follow-up each week, but this week's post will be a bit of an omnibus to get caught up. In our first class we considered Ramelli's book wheel, which you can read more about in the supplementary article I posted to the week 1 readings, titled "Reading the Book of Mozilla," which includes images of two versions of the device made after Ramelli's -- one being a really interesting Chinese adaptation made just a few decades after Ramelli. There's also a film version of The Three Musketeers in which the book wheel makes an appearance (Michael York's character obviously doesn't know what it is, but finds out how it works in a pretty funny pratfall). I also alluded to another image of a futuristic reading technology, as it was imagined in 1935 (which those of you in my Research Methods class will recognize):

This image came from an issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics, and was recently popularized in a story in Smithsonian Magazine. The U.S. patent filed for the device can be found here: . A tip of the hat to Matthew Wells for finding this.

In last week's class we discussed the domestication of new media, so to speak, including the 19th-century stereoscope (kind of like a Victorian Oculus Rift... kind of). Here's an advertisement for a stereoscope from 1856, which could make for an interesting comparison with the image above, and the Ramelli book wheel, in light of the themes many of you raised in class discussions.

I found this ad in a serially published version of Charles Dickens novel Little Dorrit, held in the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Actually, to give credit where it's due, one of the Fisher librarians pointed it out to me, which shows why it's important to talk with the librarians when doing research in places like the Fisher. I was doing research on the use of Shakespeare in the introduction of new media (notice the Hamlet reference above the image), and ended up writing about it in the 4th chapter of this book (, which deals with the photographic prehistory of digitization.

Downloadable lecture slides for weeks 1-2 are now posted on Blackboard, and you can view an embedded version here:

I'm just polishing up our first blogging question, which will be posted here today or tomorrow.