Welcome to Inscription

Where to begin? How to begin? These are tricky questions. Perhaps it’s too late to ask, since we’re already out of the starting blocks. We’re on the second line, heading rapidly for the third

Read More
On Stone

Under a clear blue sky the dragonfly takes its last migration through breezeless air.  Touching down momentarily on still water, too late to know that this salty pool won’t quench a thirst, its fragile wings are pulled down into the sedimenting basin of an isolated lagoon. Just out of reach from the coast nothing leaves the…

Read More
Paper Wraps Stone: Monumental, Manuscript, and Printed Epitaphs in eighteenth-century England

John Le Neve (1679-1741), an English antiquarian who flourished in the first two decades of the eighteenth century, is best known for Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae. This hefty collection of biographies of clergymen, first published in 1716, became the foundation of a vast, multi-generational biographical project that continues to the present day.[1] By contrast, Le Neve’s next publication, Monumenta Anglicana,…

Read More
Old Books, New Beginnings: Recovering Lost Pages

Early modern (c. 1500-1700) printed books were routinely ‘reshaped in the process of transmission’, and, as a result, there might be many different ‘starting point[s]’ in the social lives of those objects, including, but also extending beyond, the originary scene of their manufacture and distribution.[1] After all, early modern printers ‘don’t print books’, but ‘sheets’, meaning…

Read More
Casting Off: a Journey in Five Starts

Cast off: […] To put from one, discard, abandon, disown. Hawking and Hunting […] To let fly (hawks). […] Nautical. To loosen and throw off (a rope, sail, etc.), to let go, let loose; to loosen (a vessel) from a mooring. […] Knitting. To take the work off the wires, closing the loops and forming a selvedge. […] Printing. To estimate how much printed matter…

Read More
Haft: Kafka in Process

Most processes begin with a revision of sorts, with a re-examination and correction of what has been previously accomplished or received. To proceed means to ‘move’ (cedere) ‘forth’ (pro-), to advance or progress, to come forward and appear. As the term’s prefix underscores, a process sets its sights on what comes ahead; it alters the view of what happened before (pre-)…

Read More
Cover Artist: Erica Baum

The choice of Erica Baum’s work Hypnotized from 2008 for our cover image was by far the easiest decision we had to make. Erica’s incredible art work was a perfect fit for the first cover of a journal, whose concern is the materiality of text. New York based artist, Erica Baum is known for her work that…

Read More
Digital Artist in Residence: Craig Saper

#Reading In Spherical Knowledge *Coders [Pre-Flight Instructions For The Designers & ^Printers of The Essay]  In Edwin Abbott’s 1884 satirical novella, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, set in an imagined future of 1999, the inhabitants of Flatland can perceive only two-dimensional objects.[1] Abbott pseudonymously published the first edition as “A Square,” and sought to ridicule Victorian strictures and…

Read More
Poet in Residence: Craig Dworkin Clock

Clock Tick. Tock. Lock snap. Clock clasp clicks. Diecast cogs acquit their tasks. Gears chew with congruent, tooth-meshed, lockstep movements. Twitching in staggered, ratcheted laps of agitated fits they spin in graduated advance. A pocket tachometer of the planet’s orbital engine tracks its path and predicts its lot as the taut spring’s tension slackens. The…

Read More