Paratext. Everything that envelops a literary text.
The things that are easily glossed over when first opening a book. Imagine, however, the many covers, titles, chapter titles, afterwords, prefaces, subtitles, subheadings, running heads, supplements, maps (geographical or otherwise), borders, interviews, photo’s, drawings, colourings and other seemingly minor additions that that have been carefully crafted by their creators, only to be overlooked. Without these additions the text would convey its message in a wholly different manner. The space in which paratext operates is often liminal as it is not the main focus of the book, but it does prepare the reader for the text that is to come. A book without paratext would be like an unfinished draft, awaiting completion.
The idea for this website came to be because I feel like there is need for a space in which people can try out new things. I’m currently studying at Utrecht University and what I’ve found to be most difficult, is applying the knowledge and theory you gain in class to subjects outside of what the professors prescribe. In having this platform, Paratext, I am able to challenge myself in a more personal manner. It becomes less of a step to actually write something which combines my personal interests with the insights I’ve gained while studying.
When talking to some of my fellow students, I found that they also shared this opinion, and together we decided to act upon this shared perspective. Just like the paratext that envelops a literary work, we thought it would be interesting to saturate this website with articles, photos, drawings, poems, research/academic papers and many more such things that are circumferential to education. The subjects will range from the horrific to the mundane and back to the beautiful. In other words; anything that tantalizes anyone. By creating a space which can include any discipline, and any subject, we hope to contaminate its readers with an interdisciplinary array of ideas and images.
The entries that appear on this site will hopefully not only inspire readers, but also entice those who want to write such pieces themselves. Our wish is that, in due time, our readers will become our contributors. For now, however, I would like to invite you to explore our explorations and welcome you to Paratext: Academia Etcetera.
Entries will be uploaded in both Dutch and English, when possible twice a week, and will provide you with something to mull over during your day.
Pauw Vos, 7th of October 2018, Utrecht.