Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Life and Times of Tristram Shandy

This book recently published by VISUAL EDITIONS is a clever production of Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman

The book is purportedly about the life of Shandy—but it is really a big joke about such books. For example the story of his birth doesn't even appear until part three! He is often lost in tangents and side stories... the whole thing is a bit of a critique on the literature of its time.

They—the fine folks at visual editions—refer to the this book being an example of Visual Writing and define visual writing as, "writing that uses visual elements as an integral part of the writing itself. Visual elements can come in all shapes and guises: they could be crossed out words, or photographs, or die-cuts, or blank pages, or better yet something we haven’t seen. The main
thing is that the visuals aren’t gimmicky, decorative or extraneous, they are key to the story they are telling. And without them, that story would be something altogether different."

This also seems to describe Ergodic book design, except I would add that Ergodic book design also involves an expectation of active participation—beyond simple turning of the pages and reading*—from the reader.

This edition of Tristram Shandy was designed by A Practice for Everyday Life

I greatly look forward to reading this book!

Published 21 September 2010
ISBN 978-0-9565692-0-2
Paperback, 688 pages

*There's a great place for that "extranoematic" word again! HA! Bringing back dead language old school style! Word. =)

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