Paratext, the undefined zone

Blog / Tom Chivers

I wanted to share an email we received from Theodoros Chiotis, a good friend of the press. It really made me smile. * Hi Tom, I found this in a Genette text and reminded me of how Penned in the Margins works for me at least: More than a boundary or a sealed border, the […]

I wanted to share an email we received from Theodoros Chiotis, a good friend of the press. It really made me smile.

*

Hi Tom,

I found this in a Genette text and reminded me of how Penned in the Margins works for me at least:

More than a boundary or a sealed border, the paratext is, rather, a threshold, or – a word Borges used apropos of a preface – a ‘vestibule’ that offers the world at large the possibility of either stepping inside or turning back.

It is an “undefined zone” between the inside and the outside, a zone without any hard and fast boundary on either the inward side (turned toward the text) or the outward side (turned toward the world’s discourse about the text), an edge, or, as Philippe Lejeune put it, “a fringe of the printed text which in reality controls one’s whole reading of the text.

Recent posts

Return to the Blog

Connect with us

Thank you for subscribing to our email newsletter, Marginal Notes
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.