Unnam'd Forms: Perspectives on the Post-Digital Book

February 26, 2019
1:30 - 5:30 PM
3248 and 2115 Tawes Hall


A BookLab and Comparative Literature Symposium at the University of Maryland

This half-day symposium is organized around what the poet and printer William Blake once called "unnam'd forms," his term for the polymorphic material configurations of the codex. Rather than speculating about the future of the book, we have invited each speaker to address its post-digital present, by which we mean the reality that books exist now (and indeed, are thriving) in a densely layered digital landscape and are themselves the products of digital design and fabrication techniques. Books are thus “post-digital” in the sense that they have emerged from the other side of the technology’s disruption with their material forms intact, but also irrevocably changed. The symposium will begin with a less formal talk and demonstration from each of our invitees in BookLab (Tawes 3248), and then move to Tawes 2115 for their papers and a wrap-up panel with members of the University of Maryland and College Park book arts community.

Free and open to the public. 

Speakers: and University of Pennsylvania)

  • Russell Maret is a type designer and private press printer working in New York City. He has been the printer in residence of the Press in Tuscany Alley, San Francisco (1990); Artist in Residence at the Center for Book Arts, NYC (1996); and Printer in Residence at the Bodleian (2017). Maret’s books and manuscripts are in public and private collections throughout the world.
  • Whitney Trettien is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. Her forthcoming book Cut/Copy/Paste—being staged on the Manifold Scholarship platform through University of Minnesota Press—identifies three fringe communities that assembled books from fragments of paper media in the seventeenth century. She is also the co-editor and co-designer of thresholds, an occasional digital zine for creative/critical interventions. 


1:30 pm - 2:15 pm. Table Talk with Russell Maret, 3248 Tawes. Russell Maret will show and discuss examples of his printing.

2:30 pm - 3:15 pm. Digital Publishing Charet with Whitney Trettien, 3248 Tawes. Whitney Trettien will discuss examples of innovative digital publishing models.

3:15 pm - 3:30 pm. Break.

3:30 pm - 5:30 pm: Panel and Discussion, 2115 Tawes.

Sponsors: BookLab, Comparative Literature, Center for Literary and Comparative Studies

Co-Sponsors: Design Cultures & Creativity, Department of Art History, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center


2016.02.26: Symposium: Unnam'd Forms: Perspectives on the Post-Digital Book Poster & Schedule


For more information contact: Matthew Kirschenbaum or @umd_Booklab (Twitter) (booklab@umd.edu)