Unlike Laurence Sterne's use of handwriting, who signed copies of the first edition of Tristram Shandy to keep it from being pirated, the miscellanies used such invitations to handwriting, not to authorize the printed book, but instead to frame the book as a shared space, either between one reader and another or between readers and authors. The singular identity of the hand in Sterne's Tristram Shandy—whether it was the author's autograph or those famous wavy lines that is discussed in this chapter—starkly contrasted with the commonality of hands in the miscellany, often captured in the familiar miscellany subtitle, “by several hands.” Sterne's own wavy line was itself a citation, or parody, of Hogarth's notion of the serpentine line as the line of beauty from the Analysis of Beauty and was thus integrally tied to eighteenth- century debates about the relationship between lines, the visual arts, and social distinction. More importantly, the wavy line marked a fundamental threshold between visual and linguistic signs. The wavy line as epigraph was in some sense the image of the interaction between text and image, an expression of an increasingly sophisticated intermedial sensibility that was emerging in romantic readers and writers.
Keywords: illustrated book, intermedial nature, bibliographic imagination, historical discourses, lithographs, spiral line, Sebaldian terrain