The first of three lectures by Laurie Maguire on the rhetoric of the page
Our need for reassurance about blank space in works of fiction is now so standard that it can be parodied, as in Demetri Martin’s This is a Book (Penguin 2011) which contains the announcement ‘This page unintentionally left blank’ or Andy Griffiths’ children’s book Just Stupid! (1999) which has the metatextual speech bubble ‘This page would be blank if I were not here telling you it were blank’.
Focusing on early modern books, but ranging up to the 20th century, Laurie Maguire examines the way readers are invited to interact with blanks. The blank calls attention to itself, to what is not there, what is withheld, what might be there. It is not just vacant: it is a mark of vacancy. And early modern writers and printers quickly learned to exploit the blank’s ludic and creative potential.
Free | Ticket required
The Panizzi Lectures 2018: The Rhetoric of the Page
Tuesday 20 November Reading Blank Space
Tuesday 27 November Reading &c
Tuesday 4 December Reading *
Laurie Maguire is Professor of Shakespeare at Oxford University and a tutorial fellow at Magdalen College. She is the author or co-author of nine books, ranging from Shakespeare’s Names to Helen of Troy; from Homer to Hollywood. Her interests lie in book history, theatre history, classical reception and medical humanities. She is a trustee of Shakespeare’s Globe, a regular theatre reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, and a member of the selection panel for medical humanities at the Wellcome Trust.
Image: Henry Chettle: Henry Chettle, The Tragedy of Hoffman (1601; Q 1631)