The Unique Copy: Extra-Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture
The Unique Copy:
Extra-Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture
Workshop (Herzog August Library, Wolfenbüttel, Germany; 24-25 May 2018)
Co-organisers: Dr Christina Ionescu and Dr Sandro Jung
Is extra-illustration an ornamental art or does it add layers of significance and nuance to the accompanying text? How does it shed light on authorship, the act of reading, book history, and print culture? How does text-image interaction manifest itself in the extra-illustrated book-object? Is extra-illustration the equivalent of grangerising or are there other means of materially expanding the text? Is it a creative act or a form of customised reproduction or reuse of print matter? Who are the artists, readers, collectors, publishers, and curators who are responsible for the creation of extra-illustrated objects?
In his study of the history, symptoms, and cure of a fatal disease caused by the unrestrained desire to possess printed works, Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-1847) observes that “[a] passion for a book which has any peculiarity about it,” as a result of grangerising by means of collected prints, transcriptions, or various cutouts, “or which is remarkable for its size, beauty, and condition—is indicative of a rage for unique copies, and is unquestionably a strong prevailing symptom of the Bibliomania.” Extra-illustration as a practice did not emerge during bibliomaniac Dibdin’s birth century, which witnessed the publication of James Granger’s Biographical History of England (1769) and a widespread rage for unique copies of books, nor has it been extinguished in our digital era by modern technology. Whether it manifests materially as a published work that is supplemented verbally (with interleaved or pasted autograph letters, handwritten notes, or print matter either directly or tangentially linked to its content), or visually (with additional drawings, prints, maps, watercolours, photographs, or other forms of artwork that are similarly connected to a variable degree of closeness to the text), an extra-illustrated copy is important not only for its uniqueness as an original artefact and its commercial value as a desired commodity. As emblematic of an artistic, bibliographic, and cultural practice, it sheds light on its creator, the context of its production, and the reception of a text. As a form of personalised book design, it is moreover significant as a means of creative expression, an outlet of reader empowerment, and an archival repository of historical or cultural insight. Some of the popular targets of extra-illustration through time have been the Bible, biographies, historical treatises, topographical surveys, travel narratives, and popular plays.
A plethora of monographs and special journal issues dealing with book illustration from various theoretical and (inter)disciplinary perspectives have been published in recent years, but the subfield of extra-illustration remains largely unstudied. It is important to note, however, the contribution to the field by Luisa Calè, Lucy Peltz, and Stuart Sillars, who have proposed useful in-depth reflections on extra-illustration and grangerising as a practice. To address this gap in current scholarship, we invite papers that engage with extra-illustration through the conceptual lenses of book history, print and visual culture studies, and word and image theory. Contributions that focus on original artwork contained in extra-illustrated copies from the perspective of word and image studies are of particular interest to the co-editors, as are studies of extra-illustration as a link between text, book-object, and context, as approached through the prism of the book arts and reception theory. Other possibilities include contributions investigating extra-illustration diachronically or cross-culturally, and case studies dealing with a special copy, a collection of extra-illustrated books, or an individual collector, publisher, curator, or artist responsible for the creation of such unique artefacts.
Possible themes include but are not limited to:
- grangerising as a biblio-cultural practice
- grangerising as a form of material repurposing in relation to print culture
- grangerising as a fashionable and biblioclastic pastime
- grangerising as an act of authorship
- the Grangerite, bookscrapping, and collecting practices
- illustrative responses to the text in the form of unique infra-textual images
- marginal illustration and text-image interaction
- extra-illustration as interactive and engaged reading
- extra-illustration as emblematic of institutional/curatorial collecting practices
- extra-illustration as personalised book design
- extra-illustration as a window into history and intellectual thought
- extra-illustration as a book customisation response to mass production
- digital imports of extra-illustration as a means of expression
500-word abstracts, along with the author’s contact information and bio-bibliographical note, should be sent to the co-editors (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com) by 30 May 2017. A publication on the topic, either a journal issue or a collection of essays, is envisaged.