Saturday, November 1, 2008

Show& Tell: Typography

For show & tell this week, I brought in Mark Danielewski's "House of Leaves." There's a lot going on in this story, and the different typefaces help distinguish between the three concurrent narrators.

In addition, the typography begins to get crazy as the events within the house become crazy. Sometimes words will run up and down a page to mimick movement along a staircase, or only a single word will be on a page so you feel the narrator's increasing isolation, or the type will be backwards to show his movement through a place. This treatment is always a thoughtful decision that reflects the story--it's never done as a decorative element, it's done because it adds to the story. In addition, there is a page of braille, there are crossed out lines in red, missing text, text overlap, etc.

It's very fascinating and even though it can get tedious to read a footnote that extends into a story on the following pages, and then turn back several pages to get to the original story that had the footnote; and to turn the book 360 degrees while reading, it's quite the experience that adds to the act of reading. I suggest reading and trying it to see how it effects you.

1 comment:

Karin Sayan said...

the book sounds really neat and I thought I would want to read it, but after reading the inside cover saturday, I wasn't sure. But know I have time to read about it online, I think I have changed my mind again. It sounds very interesting, but will have to wait till after the semester finishes.