History Lessons in Mood
Professor Sydney Shep, senior lecturer in print and book culture at Victoria University, has uncovered the emoticon’s “pre-history” stumbling upon emoticons in an 1882 typographic journal at St. Bride’s Printing Library in London. There, on the page, were “faces” constructed of punctuation marks. The expressions were labelled: faithful, grumpy, indifferent and astonished. An explanatory note said that contemporary typesetters were creating these humorous punctuation marks in the United States and in Germany. “The emoticon is really — some people cringe when they see them – but it’s literally putting the human touch on the text that surrounds us,” said Shep, who will present her research this week at the annual humanities congress in Vancouver.