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David Macaulay Talks

As a follow-up to Katherine's post last week linking to a video on the processes of illustrating a science book, here's a link to an online movie of David Macaulay. He's talking about history, not science (producing his book on Rome), but Macaulay's probably best known for The Way Things Work and I thought this clip might still be of interest.


Fascinating! what a great find Alice -- I think this is still very relevant to what he does with 'The Way Things Work' -- all about different perspectives and methods for presenting complex information.

It strikes me that he goes through an incredible, imaginative range of ideas before settling on something rather more conventional. Using different degrees of opening the book as a 'pop-up' device, having illustrations that work upside down (or at least, of having this acknowledged in the text), etc. all seem like great devices for expanding the range of possibilities we associate with (typical) reading. His aim, of course, is not this kind of novelty for novelty's sake, but to convey something about the texture of Rome; the illustrated index at the end is a buffer that makes all the experimenting ok.

Just a question about genre: is this a fiction non-fiction book? a narrative history picture book?

I suppose by the way I talk about the horribles and similar texts, its a factual book utalising fictional devices.

I personally think we can be flexible about such terms, but I know others like to maintain a stricter fact/ fiction boundary.