Sunday Book-Thought 81

The more immediate and more material manifestation of the assignation of discourses to an author lies in the unity between a work and an object, between a textual unit and a codicological unit. This was long not true of works in the vulgar tongue. The dominant form of the manuscript book was, in fact, that of the notarial register or, in Italy, the libro-zibaldone. Such unadorned, small or medium-sized books, written in a cursive hand, were copied by their own readers, who put in them, in no apparent order, texts of quite different sorts in prose and in verse, devotional and technical, documentary and poetic. These compilations, produced by lay people unfamiliar with the traditional institutions of manuscript production and for whom the act of copying was a necessary preliminary to reading, characteristically show no sign of the author-function. The unity of such a book comes from the fact that is producer is also its addressee.
Roger ChartierThe Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries, trans by Lydia G. Cochrane (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994), pp. 55-56.

Sunday Book-Thought 78

The history of writing serves to remind us that language continually strives to find diverse material representations (the illuminating reflections on this theme by Armando Petrucci are extremely valuable here), and tries to give new forms to space in order to extend its expressive potentialities. Illuminated manuscripts stand to warn us how risky it is to look at pictures out of their context, enlarging them or reproducing them in various forms which can only confuse a reader as to their true nature. Is it wise to disembody or reduce to simple letters of the alphabet the illuminated capitals when these served as an interpretative thread of the text they introduced?
– Luca Toschi, ‘Hypertext and Authorship’, in The Future of the Book, ed by Geoffrey Nunberg (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), pp. 169-207 (p. 191).