The Book As Antfarm

March 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

Some weeks ago, the always interesting editor and writer Philip Graham posted to his blog a fascinating comparison between diptych and triptych paintings and the form of Shakespeare’s plays.

This week, though, he outdoes himself with a look at ant colonies and the structure of various books, including Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.

Here’s a brief quote from Graham’s blog entry, before you click the link to read the entire wonderful blog-essay:

Each ant colony is a formal, planned shape, built to contain the teeming life within … All structure leans toward elegance, I believe, even when it might at first seem a little lop-sided. Examining closely a book’s architecture will reveal much of its meaning as well … We build our books in much the way different species of ants construct their underground homes, with an astonishing variety of invention. And so the shape of our stories and poems and essays become personal mirrors that reflect our secret selves.

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