Dimension: Fractal Forms and Periodical Texture

Matthew Philpotts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay argues that the patterns of sameness and difference inherent in periodical form can be understood by analogy with the infinitely complex but self-similar forms of fractal geometry. More specifically, the notion of fractal (or fractional) dimension supplies not only a new conceptual vocabulary to describe the increased dimensionality of periodicals but also a quantitative measure of the complexity of form. Using digital tools and visualisations, dimension, together with the complementary notion of texture, can be set to work as the theoretical basis for new comparative analyses. At the same time, this approach raises important questions about the transferability of theoretical concepts from the sciences to the humanities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-427
Number of pages24
JournalVictorian Periodicals Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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