- Copyright Page
- List of Illustrations
- Notes on Contributors
- In Ancient Rome
- In the Classroom
- In the Custom House
- In Public
- Across Borders
- Mental Representation
- Mindreading and Social Status
- Dyslexia: Through the Eyes of da Vinci
Abstract and Keywords
This essay considers public reading—the act of reading, performed in public, of public notices, inscriptions, labels, banners, and advertisements, which makes the experience of modern life a state of incessant address. Examples are taken from Dickens’s Bleak House and Joyce’s Ulysses, with particular attention being paid to the treatment given to advertising through skywriting in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. Many of the forms of public inscription or announcement borrow or blend with forms of mechanical motion, which is anticipated in the device known as “The Readies” invented by Bob Brown in the early 1930s. The essay concludes with a discussion of the growing expressiveness of and sensitivity to typefaces, especially in the psychotypographic force possessed by capital letters.
Christopher Cannon has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, New York University, and Johns Hopkins University, where he is now Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and Classics. He has written books on Geoffrey Chaucer’s language, literary form after the Conquest, the cultural history of Middle English, and, most recently, elementary education in the fourteenth century. He is now at work on an edition of the complete works of Chaucer and a monograph on dictation.
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