Continuous Page: Scrolls and Scrolling from Papyrus to Hypertext

Jack Hartnell (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Scrolls encompass in one sweep the oldest and the most contemporary ideas about images and image-making. On the one hand, some of the most enduring artefacts of the ancient world adopt the scroll form, evoking long-standing associations with the Classical tradition, Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures, theatrical oration, and the word of the law. Yet today, scrolling is also the single most common interaction between people and their digital media: fingers routinely swipe across trackpads and touch-screens through reams of infinite hypertext. In between these two extremes too, we find a plethora of different artists and craftsmen turning and returning to the medium, from medieval medical treatises and Japanese emakimono to twentieth-century film artwork or Jack Kerouac’s continuously-typewritten draft of 'On The Road'.

This group of 12 long and short essays constitutes the first systematic attempt to approach the subject of the scroll from an interdisciplinary standpoint. Incorporating contributions from an internationally renowned group of scholars, the scope of its chapters is testimony to the enduring nature of the scroll form, addressing material from the ancient world to the twenty-first century, and from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.

Importantly too, this book will not only use the unique format of Courtauld Books Online to present scholarly contributions to this emergent field in a fresh and dynamic way. It also seeks to use the continuous page of the online publication to present a group of digitised scroll objects related to the book’s essays—either within chapters or as interludes from them—in complete, scrollable form for the reader, along with commentary, annotations, and translations written by book’s contributors. In so doing, this book represents an innovative direction in the study of material culture, interlacing scholarship and digitised historical artworks in a single, accessible volume.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherCourtauld Books Online
Number of pages213
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-907485-10-7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • art history
  • material culture
  • scrolls
  • scrolling
  • history
  • visual culture

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