My Thoughts on “Text”

When searching for a phrase that represents the meaning of text, I came across this statement by James Elkin that seemed to sum up my view of what text is. He stated that, ” ‘Text’ refers to anything which is capable of being read or interpreted “. In our school curriculum we are teaching students to not only read words critically, but to interpret visual texts the same way. Text is not simply the words in a book, on a phone, computer screen or television. A photograph, poster, map, diagram and a work of art are also texts. They can be viewed and interpreted and the reader can respond personally and critically to what they are seeing.

James Elkins, ‘Our Beautiful, Dry, and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing’, London: Routledge, 2000. p 296-297, Retrieved from,

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1 Response to My Thoughts on “Text”

  1. troos says:


    I agree that the display of text can be much more than words. And yet, words appear to be the foundation of all types of text. You spoke of textual interpretation of images but yet that interpretation and a possible description would use words. Words seems to be the basic and common form of communication. Our minds seem able to store images but yet we recall these images with word-based descriptions and would use words to communicate these images to others.


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