Cover of Theses on the Metaphors of Digital-Textual History by Martin Paul Eve
Theses on the Metaphors of Digital-Textual History
Martin Paul Eve


July 2024
436 pages.

Paperback ISBN: 9781503614888
Ebook ISBN: 9781503639393

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Digital spaces are saturated with metaphor: we have pages, sites, mice, and windows. Yet, in the world of digital textuality, these metaphors no longer function as we might expect.

Martin Paul Eve calls attention to the digital-textual metaphors that condition our experience of digital space, and traces their history as they interact with physical cultures. Eve posits that digital-textual metaphors move through three life phases. Initially they are descriptive. Then they encounter a moment of fracture or rupture. Finally, they go on to have a prescriptive life of their own that conditions future possibilities for our text environments—even when the metaphors have become untethered from their original intent. Why is "whitespace" white? Was the digital page always a foregone conclusion? Over a series of theses, Eve addresses these and other questions in order to understand the moments when digital-textual metaphors break and to show us how it is that our textual softwares become locked into paradigms that no longer make sense.

Contributing to book history, literary studies, new media studies, and material textual studies, Theses on the Metaphors of Digital-Textual History provides generative insights into the metaphors that define our digital worlds.

About the author

Martin Paul Eve is Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London. His previous books include Close Reading with Computers (Stanford, 2019.)

"This book is a brilliant and engaging exploration of digital media—extraordinarily rich and deep, with wide-ranging source material and an exciting theoretical framework. It is omnivorously learned, yet immensely approachable. A true scholarly feat."

—Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Michigan State University

"Eve's book is a fabulous read! It is a captivating exploration of books and digital artifacts. This book will find an eager readership in an audience interested in text technologies in the academy and beyond."

—Orietta Da Rold, University of Cambridge