Sean Franzel on...
i agree with Diana Robin’s comment- excellent chapter, and very suggestive for thinking about our own practices as teachers and students!
Very suggestive formulation: emblem “participating in retrospective or reflexive design process;” again, as a non-specialist, I find myself thinking about what this might mean in different medial contexts. In a sense, it seems that these early print forms might help readers appreciate or model new design ideas in ways that are closer to the technologies of the print shop than today (we don’t think about writing code when we change our facebook status- are we more alienated from the means of medial production? if we are, should we even care?). On the other hand, participating in a medial environment always seems to involve a certain potential for rethinking, reworking, “redesigning” that environment. Your discussion of the emblem makes this very clear.
actually, your discussion in the next section basically answers my question…
I find your notion of the emblem as a machine for activist kinds of reading really helpful and interesting. I assume that this encouragement of activist interpretive practices is– to greater and lesser extents, depending on their ideological functions– at work in other aesthetic forms (signs, paintings, decorative arts, etc) that likewise play on the kind of analogical thinking you describe as characteristic of the period… Is it that emblematics deepen, expand upon a mode of allegorical/analogical hermeneutics, or that the convergence of print, popularization and new pedagogies change the playing field somehow?
This modeling of emblems on printer’s marks seems like a fascinating media-historical phenomenon- new medial practices/conventions leading directly to new literary/pictorial forms, and referencing the actual technological practices that make these forms possible at that! I wonder the extent to which similar innovations might have resulted from conventions of manuscript production in earlier centuries or in later developments in the history of print and other media (contests for animated web-content based around the Google name)?
Is this excellent site still active? I was hoping to use a chapter (the one on emblems) in a MA-level course on Medieval and Baroque Literature this fall, having the students engage with the text and maybe post comments and questions. This would not be until November. Thanks for a very inspiring and informative project!
Assistant Professor of German
University of Missouri, Columbia