Playing Around with Books

Upper School girls enrolled in the super-curricular Elective Programme have been investigating literature that manipulates the very physical characteristics of what we think of as books, exploring various highly experimental and indeed unique books.

For the girls, this was the final session of the second Elective module convened by the Head of the Elective Programme, Dr Atherton, titled ‘Keyboard Scribes: A History of the Book’.

They looked at Reif Larsen's award-winning novel 'The Selected Works of TS Spivet', which tells the story of a twelve-year-old genius cartographer and his journey across America to collect a prestigious award for map drawing. Uniquely, the book captures within its margins the very same drawings and diagrams for which the fictional Spivet won his award.

Dr Atherton said, “Another example that especially captured the girls' attention was the genre of a 'book in a box', especially popular in the 1960s. These books present their stories through a series of unbound single pages that can then be mixed up and read in any order. Each time the story will still make sense but be slightly different!

The wider Elective module explored the history of the book from manuscript culture to the invention of the printing press and this specific session sought to celebrate what the book has been and can become by looking at ways in which it has been reinvented. This session in particular, perfectly captured the ethos of the Elective Programme and its purpose of pushing girls beyond the curriculum in new and exciting ways.”

In his next Elective, Dr Atherton will be exploring Shakespeare's sonnets.

Find out more about the Elective Programme here

Posted: 6th Feb 2019

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