Friday, November 30, 2007


Don Quixote was quite a layered and complicated narrative, arguably just as layered as House of Leaves. Both of these works have a few narrators and a few major storylines that are taking place at different times.

The main difference is that House of Leaves tells all of its stories simultaneously by the use of technology. This would never have been a possibility without the use of different fonts. Imagine if Johnny, Zampano, Navidson, and the editors all shared the same font. House of Leaves would cease being a challenging read and instantly become an incomprehensible one. The use of these different fonts of would not have been possible until printing technology was developed that made the printing cost effective.

I know we have talked about these ideas before in class, but for my final project I want to analyze the different fonts in House of Leaves. I hypothesize that the history of these fonts actually correlate in some way, thus providing another piece of evidence that all of the stories were actually written by Johnny.

Believe it or not, every font has a history. A perfect, yet exaggerated, version of this is the movie Helvetica. Graphic designers and many other people involved in the creation of the font were interviewed. This movie also explores the importance of fonts and their impact on the reader.

I don't know if this is feasible, but I definitely want to explore the use of different fonts in the book. I feel that Johnny is always trying to hide himself throughout the book and I believe he uses font to some extent to accomplish this.


Adam Johns said...

First, I think this is a compelling idea, although you're right that there is at least some risk that it won't be feasible in practice. Even if that turns out to be the case, there'd be ways of rescuing it by turning it into a project on Helvetica, or into a more formal essay on fonts.

One fun way of illustrating your point in detail, of course, would be to make significant use of fonts yourself - you could even do something really messy by then conducting a commentary at another level on the significance of the fonts _you_ are using.

Adam Johns said...

This is funny. Reading this from one computer, it reads normally, but on the other James' whole post is a bunch of symbols - an ironic, if accidental illustration of the power of fonts...

JamesGz said...

i was messing around on my pc and tried to use a webdings font, but it wouldn't show up in the preview.

now that i'm on a campus mac, i actually see the characters. have a lot of people not been able to read the post?