chapter  2
Visualization As an Alternative to Prose
Pages 30

Written prose is linear, one-dimensional, confined to sequential chains, and-if Carlyle, McLuhan, and Arnheim are to be believed-ill-equipped to represent the multidimensional complexity of thought and experience. Historians rarely recognize these limitations and constraints of their medium of choice, and when they do, like Carlyle, they choose to write anyway. This choice has consequences. Written prose is not only a means of communication; because of its structural properties, writing shapes our thoughts, organizing our ideas like a template or a filter. When the past is pressed through the template of prose, “history” is created.