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Visual Text: Call for Papers



Guest Editors: Judy Kendall, Manuel Portela & Glyn White

‘Visual Text’ aims to showcase cutting-edge research on the visual aspects of text in different media, whether handwritten, printed or digital, and is open to a variety of disciplinary approaches including literature, linguistics and cultural and translation studies, communication studies and graphic design.

The visual aspects of text have been integral to textual production from the hieroglyphic tablets of Egyptian antiquity to the visually inventive novels of Laurence Sterne, Christine Brooke-Rose and Alasdair Gray, and on to the kinetic and interactive manipulations of text in the contemporary digital world. The representation of knowledge, scientific and otherwise, across history in maps, diagrams and other forms of visualisation, shows the breadth and importance of visual text. Visual text includes the illustration, marking and illumination of manuscripts and scroll culture; the study of handwritten manuscripts and the use of text as symbol and image in contemporary art. The different visual possibilities offered by the technology of print are seen in the presentation of poetry and fiction; in the combination of image and typography in the broadsheet and tabloid, periodical and journal; in the sequential art of comics and graphic novels; and in the presentation of parallel translations. The digital age sees multiple new uses for typography and page layout as computer-assisted communication has extended the possibilities of visual text to new devices and practices, including touchscreen interfaces and virtual keyboards that impact upon how we see, think about and assimilate text.

The editors of this issue invite contributions on the topic of visual text from scholars working in all cognate fields in English Studies. Interdisciplinary submissions, with, for example, reference to fine arts or graphic design, are also encouraged. Possible themes include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • interaction between word and image
  • iconographic texts
  • text as image or symbol
  • pages and pagination: digital, printed, handwritten
  • type and typography
  • writers as typesetters
  • interactive, digital and moving texts
  • digital reading devices (e-readers, PDAs, mobile phone screens)
  • translation of visual effects

Please note that the deadline for proposals for all issues for this volume is 31 October 2011, with delivery of completed essays by 31 March 2012. Volume 17 will appear in 2013. Detailed proposals (500-1,000 words) for articles of c. 5-6,000 words, as well as all inquiries regarding this issue, should be sent to all the guest editors: Judy Kendall; Manuel Portela; and Glyn White

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