Bonnie Mak gives to the reader somewhat of a play by play with how, in western society, we have done from using bookrolls and papyrus to paper and codex’s and ever more common today technological reading. One thing we’re learned though this semester and emphasized in Mak’s reading is that things like this, technological successorship, is in no way ordered in a linear fashion. Once a new technology is produced, no matter how much better it is, does not mean all of those involved in the reading and writing world will switch over night. This is often the common generalized perception, yet Mak is able to explain it otherwise.
One of the main topics of Bonnie Mak’s chapter, Architectures of the Page, is that the page comes in many shapes and sizes, especially early in literary history. Mak makes the comparison between Egyptian papyrus, Greek scrolls and to the modern day text/codex. Like most developing processes papyrus could not keep up with the demand. Rolls were pasted together (not sown as we’ve seen before) as the paginae’s (or pages) started to create a scrolls for the Egyptians.
Another point Bonnie Mak made before going on to the structure of the page and how it came to be today we have to figure out how we approach it. Today we pick up a book, open it, and read it front to back from left to right. There’s much more of it than that. We have become so used to ease and ways of the codex that we sometimes take it for granted. Mak introduces the reader new terms such as folio, verso, and recto. Original manufacturing of codex’s hand to find a solution to ensure that the paginate would line up perfectly in order to create a steady flow of the text, story or information. The sheets that surround another with a codex have an “important contiguous relationship” (Mak, 14). Each page might not have been created with it’s partner that will be seen along side when we flip a page to find a new set of facing pages and cover the last set.
Another thing we often take for granted it the lay out and imagery that goes along with what we see when we flip through the pages. “The page is an expressive space for text, place and image” (Mak, 18) Before I don’t think that the word expressive would be one I’ d use to describe the page and everything that went it to. The truth is, the design of each page has long been laid out before anything is printed. The margins, the spacing, the images that come along with it. All of these decisions go into how a page should be read and influence the reader as to what the author wanted them to read and how they should interpret it. Word placement and sizing, as well as bolding and italicizing, could separate two ideas and determine which way the reader will think.
The word codex is for some reason a word and a definition that confuses me. When I originally read the word in an early reading and looked up the definition I believed it to mean the way in which we order and categorize things today in our books. By this I mean the beginning and the end of the book where you can find references, resources, cited texts, chapter categories/titles and more to better order and find what you need to find in a faster manner.
The other thing that tripped me up was on page 9 towards the bottom of the page when Mak says, “the history of writing technology – and the book in particular – was to be understood in terms of technological supersession.” When I thought that although we may teach it in supersession, as if one came after another and none of them overlapped one or two discoveries back.
My question is about this idea of supersession. If new technologies come along all the time that are essentially better why don’t we make the switch? Why does it take so long for us to finally switch when we do get our hands on it? But really how can we know that modern/western world of doing things it truly the best and more efficient as well as effective. Digital reading and technology is supposedly the best and finest but we’re still holding onto books and scrolls. Could there be something from the past that would even better what we have now?