memory. language, art. wittgenstein. books. ceramics.

all sorts of thinkings on memory, language, art, wittgenstein, books, etc, while I am getting on with my MA

Wednesday 1 December 2010

ESSAY. Yeppee! and the problem of borders (book arts)

Essay submitted, done and dusted!

That essay research was certainly hugely beneficial for me: it answered a few important questions. Unfortunately, it has also revealed a few problems. For example, it is not helpful to come to this area of books from linguistics, having had focused on language and meaning structure  all those years (a bit like arriving to the wrong religion school: god is the same, but perspective is different). While it might be exploratory to question where the book/text/page/etc. starts and where it ends, I see those things distorted by the cognitive linguistics. Aristotelian classification does not work. Mental categories have prototype structure and fuzzy edges (uh. clever me.). Therefore, my category of books can extend right into periphery without questions about borders: no starts, no ends.

Well, this looking for borders is what I  find frustrating. Once they are established, some things become "in" and others - "out". For example, Johanna Drucker offers an alarmingly narrow view of what a book is. All of the stuff of my previous pages about the burnt books would be "out". Alternatively, it could be called "periphery".

Instead of trying to build the walls, to keep the wrong kind of books "out", it might be more productive to establish prototypes for the categories, so the rest of the group could locate itself somewhere around it. Just a thought.

Sure - it is not as simple as that. I was reading Stephen Davies recently. He mentioned "disjunctive definition". It sounds very Wittgensteinian, but - certainly more to the point (from my point of view).