Specious Space

Symbolic & Material Footprints of French Literacy

This series maps the ‘space of the page’ as suggested in Georges Perec’s Species of Space, comparing the symbolic and material measures of extent & impact in 19th century French book publishing and dissemination systems. To quote Perec:

The space of a sheet of paper (regulation international size, as used in Government departments, on sale at all stationers) measures 623.7 sq. cm. You have to write a little over sixteen pages to take up one square metre. Assuming the average format of a book to be 21 by 29.7 cm, you could, if you were to pull apart all the printed books kept in the Bibliothèque Nationale and spread the pages carefully out one beside the other, cover the whole, either, island of St. Helena or of Lake Trasimeno. You could also work out the number of hectares of forest that have had to be felled in order the produce the paper needed to print the works of Alexander Dumas (pere), who, it will be remembered, had a tower built each stone of which had the title of one of his books.


  • Book history/paper research & calculations
  • WorldCat tabulation of Dumas Editions
  • Map/Infographic Summary Posters


  • Personal Project