Betrachten, Blättern, Enthüllen, Lauschen, Lesen.

Walter Scotts »THE TAPESTRIED CHAMBER«, das KEEPSAKE FOR MDCCCXXIX, sein zehnter Stahlstich und ihr interaktives Bedeutungsangebot


  • Volker Mergenthaler Philipps-Universität Marburg



wood engravings, steel engravings, handling of media formats, 1820s and 1830s, Walter Scott, gothic tale, gift books, journals, tissue paper, reader-viewer-handler


This article deals with the aesthetic effects that arise when reading, viewing and handling different media formats. It takes strongly divergent contemporary evaluations of a well-known gothic tale by Walter Scott, »THE TAPESTRIED CHAMBER«, as an opportunity to investigate the medial and material causes of these differences. The author concentrates on the first publication of the tale in autumn 1828 in the opulent annual gift book THE KEEPSAKE FOR MDCCCXXIX, with its numerous steel engravings, and on another early print of the text in the magazine THE OLIO, OR, MUSEUM OF ENTERTAINMENT, with its wood-engraved illustrations. Both prints organise the reading of »THE TAPESTRIED CHAMBER« in specific ways, each setting in motion specific processes of understanding, each stimulating specific aesthetic experiences. This can be traced back in particular to the illustrations placed alongside the prints of the narrative text, to their production, reproduction and presentation in the printed product, to the way in which they are integrated into the flow of reception, which senses of the recipients they address and to which specific forms of media interaction they invite.