Rickard A. Parker wrote:

>Tabitha Arnesen wrote:
>>And dont you find the way that pages in books are all
>>so constrively stuck together really really bad, like
>>a sign of the coming apocalypse of evil???
>>Bookbinders and publishers have an evil cartel so that
>>we can only ever read the pages of books in one
>>"arbitrary" order decreed by university department
>>elitists!!!  Its a straitjacket for our minds!!!  The
>>"ordinary people" must unite to destroy this mind
>>manacles of menace!!!!
>It is happening now.  It's called hypertext.
It has happened before.  To begin with, no one stops anyone from jumping 
around in a book or a scroll.  If you want to read a novel out of order, 
go ahead, but what sort of freedom is that?  And  what do you (the list 
"you") think indices help readers do, though one is free to ignore 
them?  Endnotes and footnotes?  "loc cit"?  "q.v."?  Page numbers 
(preemptive stike--they are not for the printer, who uses signatures to 
keep his place)?

Let's have a real argument, in which indispensable intuition and genuine 
leaps of thinking test themselves.  I throw down this gauntlet:
"The whole battery of aids to reading and comprehension which the reader 
of to-day takes for granted--the separation of words, systematic 
provision of accents and breathings, punctuation, paragraphing, chapter 
headings, lists of contents, footnotes, indexes, bibliographies, 
etc.--simply did not exist in the ancient world nor (and this is 
important) was their absence felt, however indispensable they may seem 
to us."  [Colin H. Roberts and T. C. Skeat, _The Birth of the Codex_ 
(London: Oxford University Press, 1987) 73-74.]

Perhaps D'Alembert's defense of  the system he and Diderot used in their 
dictionary will be of interest to those who have searched in vain for a 
way out of paper or parchment or papyrus prisons.   The evolution of the 
book has always, from the addition of spaces between words in Greek and 
Roman texts to now (who knows the future?), has been fueled by the cycle 
of needs, met needs, and changing desires of scribes/writers/readers.


Those who don't know history are doomed to think only they can think.  
[MSK, 2005]