along these lines: Linen, lining (etymology of “line”)

Digging a little into the word “line” this evening. Something I found:

    A long, scrolly definition and history of the word via Google search, through which I learned that “line,” in English, stems from words that mean both “thread” or “rope” (Latin, the noun) and “lining” (Middle English, the verb).

origin of the word line

origin of the word line

I like that this etymology conflates lines and surfaces, acknowledging that threads weave into surfaces (i.e., Egyptian cotton sheets, canvases ready for stretching), which then might line other surfaces made of lines (like silk sewn inside a tweed jacket).

This, in turn, calls to mind the modernist grid; the ways in which ink lines of handwriting cover and become almost one with a page made from shredded rags; and the speeding beams of light that produce a flat image on a cathode-ray monitor.

This chameleon-like line-surface reminds me of Tamarin Norwood’s explorations into lines and surfaces: it is only through the traveling line that she is able to ask, in A Fine Line (2014), what the surface of the page might have in common with the surfaces of the camera lens and the computer screen.

Some threads to follow, here.