Ritualizing the Size of Books


  • James W. Watts Syracuse University




iconic books, ritualization, miniatures, amulets, privacy, digital texts


Rhetoric about books usually emphasizes their semantic contents. Larger-than-average and smaller-than-average books, however, draw our attention to their material form. Size therefore provides one means for ritualizing the iconic dimension of books. While enlarging books quickly exceeds any practical purpose for the sake of public display, shrinking books tends to carry with it pragmatic rhetoric about portability, low expense, and mass production. Yet the popularity of textual amulets across history and cultures suggests that private ritualization drives much of the market for miniatures.

Author Biography

James W. Watts, Syracuse University

Professor in the Department of Religion, Syracuse University, USA.


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How to Cite

Watts, J. W. (2019). Ritualizing the Size of Books. Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts, Cultural Histories, and Contemporary Contexts, 9(2-3), 104-113. https://doi.org/10.1558/post.35879