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Mise en page, mise en écran: What medieval 'publishing' practices can tell us about reading in the digital age
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:30 authored by Leah Tether
This article surveys aspects of medieval ‘publishing’ practice in manuscript format and relates them to, as well as draws comparisons with, the fast-moving culture of the written word in the digital age. By means of an analysis of three key trends—‘navigational aids/hypertexts’, ‘non-sequential reading’, and ‘interactive reading’—the article demonstrates how medieval and digital reading cultures share considerable similarities, all of which are linked to a reader’s ability to exercise power over the texts they read. The analysis explores why medieval readers seem to have engaged more readily with interactive reading experiences than their digital counterparts. It investigates the extent of a manuscript reader’s influence on both texts and later readers and considers whether the digital age has as yet managed to replicate successfully this kind of non-static reading environment. In sum, the article traces analogous trends in reading in the two periods and makes tangible suggestions as to how its findings can be used to inform the publishing trade about the needs of the digital reader.
Publication titleLogos: Journal of the World Publishing Community