Geoffrey Chaucer's dream poem The House of Fame explores virtual technologies of memory and reading, which are similar to the themes explored in Danielewski's House of Leaves. "[ftaires!]", apart from referencing the anecdotal (and humorous) misspelling of "stairs" in House of Leaves, is one such linguistically and visually informed phenomenon that speaks directly to how we think about, and give remembrance to, our own digital and textual culture. This paper posits that graphic design, illustrations, and other textual cues (such as the [ftaires!] mispelling in House of Leaves] have a subtle yet powerful psychological influence on our reading and memory of texts. Paratextual or "secondary" features of a text such as its typography, font choice, line design, color scheme, and even minutiae like kerning collectively approximate an ur-character whose sole function is to educate the reader on how the book should be read. Other interests explored in this paper include: catalogs (as a form of archiving), houses of memory, ekphrasis, and unreliable/extra-diagetic narrators.

First Advisor

Denise Despres

Second Advisor

William Kupinse

Third Advisor

Jane Carlin

Degree Type



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in English

Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2014