Book Machine: Extending Understandings of the Sensory Experience of Reading

By Jordan Williams.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Deleuze and Guattari begin their influential Thousand Plateaus with a ‘riff’ on the book ‘made of variously formed matters, and very different dates and speeds’. Many theorists of and commentators on the book have employed the Deleuzo-Guattarian concepts of ‘assemblage’ and ‘abstract machine’ to their analyses of the book. They tend to focus on the relationships between the book, its materiality, form, production and the ideas and concepts that form part of its contents. This paper extends such analyses by joining in sensory aspects pertinent to the extended, twenty-first century world of/with books and reading. How do experiences such as ‘glow’ and ‘heavy’ and ‘luminescence’ join together with more familiar ones such as the ‘sound’ and ‘smell’ and ‘feel’ of print culture to extend our understanding what is book and what is reading? What is added to, what is lost from the individual’s experience of the work on paper? And returning to that first page of Thousand Plateaus, what is the experience of speed in book culture and what does that do to our experience of reading?

Keywords: Phenomenology, Deleuze, Books, Reading, e-Book

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.63-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 713.078KB).

Dr. Jordan Williams

Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Jordan Williams is a creative practitioner and researcher who works in the fields of literary studies, philosophy and pedagogies of both. She teaches literature, and creative writing and representation and central to her interests in each is a focus on the body and embodiedness.


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