Escape from the Temple of Laughter: From book object to digital event

Fletcher, Jerome (2014) Escape from the Temple of Laughter: From book object to digital event. In: L'objet-livre: Du papier au numérique, 19 - 21 November 2014, ENSAD, Paris/University of Paris 8.

[thumbnail of Beyond the book.docx] Text
Beyond the book.docx

Download (22kB)

Abstract / Summary

As a contribution to the notion of ‘beyond the book’ I will be presenting and reflecting on Escape from the Temple of Laughter, a multi-modal children’s novel which I published in the mid-90s. Starting from a consideration of the book as both a container and a site for writing, this children’s book was one with very porous boundaries. Its contents literally spilled out of it, escaping the totalising control of the codex. For example, rather than a series of maps being illustrated within the text itself, they exist as a set of separate objects. And the same is true of machines, games, devices. mini-books and stickers. These elements could be thought of in the same sense as an ‘exploded view’ of the book which asks the reader to establish the shifting relationships between these elements and the narrative itself. At the same time, each ‘escape’ in itself constitutes the possibility of a new text, taking the reader further and further from the main narrative. This brings to mind Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy, .
‘ Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine;—they are the life, the soul of reading!—take them out of this book, for instance,—you might as well take the book along with them;—one cold eternal winter would reign in every page of it;’

At the time of publication, pre-Web 2.0, Escape from the Temple of Laughter was already a hypertext work. The book is now in the process of digitisation and the second half of the presentation will consider what this means to recontextualise the book in this way. Is it a genuine move ‘beyond the book’, or merely an alternative mode of dissemination? Does digitisation add anything new to the text, or is it foregrounding certain features which are already inherent in the print version? Is digitisation a rupture with print culture or a move across a spectrum? Will the book ‘dematerialise’ as a result of digitisation or will it take on a new form of materiality with different signifying qualities?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Additional Information: Video of keynote available at
Subjects: Writing & Journalism > Literature > English Literature
Writing & Journalism
Courses by Department: The School of Writing & Journalism > English & Writing
Depositing User: Jerome Fletcher
Date Deposited: 05 May 2017 13:50
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 13:45


View Item View Item (login required)