11. November 2014 · 1 comment · Categories: 2.4

The peculiar but artful format of A Humument immediately hooked me. Its manipulation of text and images – which in turn becomes text in images – creates a new experience for readers accustomed to conventional styles of books. Shortly into reading it, I was reminded of another book that plays with text and format, albeit in a different way: House of Leaves. Much like A Humument, the novel calls to attention more than just the words on the page. House of Leaves begins as what seems to be a traditional narrative, but quickly throws readers for a curveball. The novel utilizes all kinds of visual effects unconventional to normal stories. Varying fonts and orientations cause the reader to become increasingly aware of changes in presentation. As a result, rather than just introduce several layers to the story, it also twists and turns the text so that readers not only read the book, but look at it. These images only present a fraction of the jarring formats used to provide a visual link to the story. In this way, both A Humument and House of Leaves convey the intersection of text and mediation by way of changing the conventions of books. They take something old (in A Humument’s case, Tom Phillips literally takes something old) and present it again in a way that’s new, thereby emphasizing medium and materiality.



1 Comment

  1. I find that House of Leaves also raises interesting questions with regard to the idea of text as a “crystal goblet” theory. The theory rasises the question as to whether the format of the text itself contributes to the meaning of its contents. Humument and House of Leaves both use irregular formats that, in this case, do contribute to the meaning, which gives room to analyse every choice maid, where, say, an auto manual might just display its contents without any adornment.

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