Contemporary Fiction Research Seminar: Reworking the (Non) Literary Object

From Text to Book: Reworking the (Non) Literary Object

CFS presents a pair of talks on reworking textual material in the digital age: Kaja Marczewska discusses creative practices of erasure using non-literary texts; Linda Toigo presents her recent art project, making history books history through creative destruction.

Kaja Marczewska: 'Document under erasure'

'Document under erasure' considers a particular subgenre of writing under erasure today, a creative form that will be referred to here as ‘document sous rature/document under erasure’. This is a mode of writing exemplified by erasure poems that appropriate, as their source texts, non-literary material such as documents, memoirs, court cases. The paper will focus on the aesthetics of erasing the non-literary to raise questions about the nature of erasure itself, the role of source texts and their authors, as well as copyright issues that erasure as practice in contemporary poetry brings to the fore – does the genre of trigger text matter? Is working to erase a record or document different to working from a literary text? And if so, what changes in the process of transition and translation from the archive to the pages of a poetry volume? What artistic potential does a document as a source present; what constraints might it impose? Do issues of ethics come into play in the context of such a form of erasure aesthetics?

Kaja Marczewska is a final year PhD candidate and a tutor at the Department of English Studies, Durham University, UK. Her research project focuses on the understanding of 21st century notions of originality, creativity and authorship. Kaja is one of the leads on the AHRC Forms of Innovation project, a collaboration with Universities of Edinburgh, Cardiff, DMU Leicester and King's College London to address issues at the intersections of the humanities and new technologies.

Linda Toigo: '"And cut him out in little stars": celebrating books through their destruction'

Linda will be discussing her recent work of book destruction and how this has evolved from practices of book production. In an iconic scene from Truffaut’s adaptation of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a cynical fireman observes with morbid pleasure and irresistible fascination the destruction of the books in his colleague’s house and exalts at the beauty of the burning process, when pages turn into black surfaces before being reduced to ashes. The man will eventually be killed by the same fire, suggesting that books’ and human beings’ destiny is strongly connected. Inspired and disturbed by Bradbury’s dystopic vision, Linda decided to experiment with the use of the same violent and destructive element for her new project.

Linda Toigo is a book artist and graphic designer. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and libraries throughout the UK and Europe. For more information visit

Institute of English Studies
Linda Toigo and Kaja Marczewska
Event date: 
Saturday, 25 May 2013 - 1:00am
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