[PM: Apologies for sprawl here—feel free to jump to the end for some broad questions/critique.]
The first chapters of Bernhard Siegert’s Passage des Digitalen weave so many threads together, I find myself wanting to tease them all out and follow them to their ends. Sitting at a desk in Cambridge, Mass., in the year 2014, I am surrounded by an odd collection of texts for further rummaging: Claude Shannon’s masters thesis, Oedipus Rex, Heidegger’s “Zeit und Sein,” the Domesday Book (see below) and Michael Clanchy’s From Memory to Written Record. I could likewise easily imagine a post/response to any of the paragraphs in “Vorwort”: on the disciplinary objects left lying around in the Hinterhöfe (backyards) of other disciplines; on the (ambiguous?) relation between Zeichenpraktiken and Kulturtechniken; phrases like neuzeitliche Wissenschaften and claims that “we are all Flying Dutchmen” (19), and of course, the sea—and the other version of this book as a history of the sea. Siegert cites a questionnaire from the Inquisitio comitatus Cantabrigiensis, in which the 12th and final question could well describe his overall way of thinking and virtuosic use of sources: “if more can be had than is had” (29). Or to pose the question aqueously: has the book already overflowed from the outset with its own sources?