Spanning three decades and a host of subjects, E. M. Forster’s radio broadcasts for the BBC were a major contribution to British cultural history, yet today they are rarely acknowledged by scholars of his life and work. But in their day they reached a larger audience than his fiction and established him as a household figure not only in Britain but also in the farthest reaches of its Empire.
As a frequent contributor to the BBC, Forster generally adhered to literary topics but did not shy away from social commentary. This book offers a new appreciation of his vitality and public importance through seventy annotated broadcasts that present him not only as a literary critic but also as a political activist, an advocate for India, and a wary yet cooperative ally of a colonialist government during World War II.
Gathering material either not in print or, if recast as essays, widely scattered, The BBC Talks of E. M. Forster reveals aspects of Forster’s intellect that have been given short shrift in previous studies. Nearly half the scripts date from 1941 to 1945 and provide an eyewitness account of war from a distinguished perspective. Forster comments on how the arts gallantly survived the blitz—even taking his listeners to the theater as bombing threats loom—and in other cases protests government interference in private life or the limits on free expression caused by the wartime paper shortage.
In these scripts, Forster casts a cosmopolitan eye on contemporary literature from James Joyce to John Steinbeck and provides early exposure for young writers and composers. He also enlarges the scope of European art by pairing Jane Austen or C. S. Lewis with Indian writers and offers pointed comments on contemporary literati such as Aldous Huxley and T. S. Eliot. Annotations to each piece identify Forster’s references and trace his revisions from script to broadcast, while the book’s introduction places his emergence as a distinctive radio voice within the historical, creative, and institutional contexts of broadcasting in his day.
This significant body of writing, too long overlooked, traces Forster’s evolution from novelist to adroit cultural critic and shows how a man who was never comfortable with machines played an important role in shaping a new medium. The BBC Talks of E. M. Forster situates Forster as one of the most poignant voices of the twentieth century as it offers new insight into a nation transfigured by war.
A book about the role of books in shaping the ancient religious landscape
This collection of essays by leading scholars from a variety of academic disciplines explores the ongoing relevance of Harry Gamble’s Books and Readers in the Early Church (1995) for the study of premodern book cultures. Contributors expand the conversation of book culture to examine the role the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, and the Qur’an played in shaping the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions in the ancient and medieval world. By considering books as material objects rather than as repositories for stories and texts, the essays examine how new technologies, new materials, and new cultural encounters contributed to these holy books spreading throughout territories, becoming authoritative, and profoundly shaping three global religions.
Books, Bluster, and Bounty examines a cross-section of Carnegie library applications to determine how local support was mustered for cultural institutions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century West. This comparative study considers the entire region between the Rockies and the Cascades/Sierras, including all of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona; western Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado; eastern Oregon and Washington; and small parts of California and New Mexico. The author's purpose is to address not only the how of the process but also the variable why. Although virtually all citizens and communities in the West who sought Carnegie libraries expected tangible benefits for themselves that were only tangentially related to books, what they specifically wanted varied in correlation with the diverse nature of western communities. By looking at the detailed records of the Carnegie library campaigns, the author is able to provide an alternative lens through which to perceive and map the social-cultural makeup and town building of western communities at the turn of the century.
Ranging from alchemy to necromancy, "books of secrets" offered medieval readers an affordable and accessible collection of knowledge about the natural world. Allison Kavey's study traces the cultural relevance of these books and also charts their influence on the people who read them. Citing the importance of printers in choosing the books' contents, she points out how these books legitimized manipulating nature, thereby expanding cultural categories, such as masculinity, femininity, gentleman, lady, and midwife, to include the willful command of the natural world.
A Wolfson History Prize FinalistA New Statesman Book of the YearA Sunday Times Book of the Year“Timely and authoritative…I enjoyed it immensely.”—Philip Pullman“If you care about books, and if you believe we must all stand up to the destruction of knowledge and cultural heritage, this is a brilliant read—both powerful and prescient.”—Elif ShafakLibraries have been attacked since ancient times but they have been especially threatened in the modern era, through war as well as willful neglect. Burning the Books describes the deliberate destruction of the knowledge safeguarded in libraries from Alexandria to Sarajevo, from smashed Assyrian tablets to the torching of the Library of Congress. The director of the world-famous Bodleian Libraries, Richard Ovenden, captures the political, religious, and cultural motivations behind these acts. He also shines a light on the librarians and archivists preserving history and memory, often risking their lives in the process.More than simply repositories for knowledge, libraries support the rule of law and inspire and inform citizens. Ovenden reminds us of their social and political importance, challenging us to protect and support these essential institutions.“Wonderful…full of good stories and burning with passion.”—Sunday Times“The sound of a warning vibrates through this book.”—The Guardian“Essential reading for anyone concerned with libraries and what Ovenden outlines as their role in ‘the support of democracy, the rule of law and open society.’”—Wall Street Journal“Ovenden emphasizes that attacks on books, archives, and recorded information are the usual practice of authoritarian regimes.”—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
When early Christians began to study the Bible, and to write their own history and that of the Jews whom they claimed to supersede, they used scholarly methods invented by the librarians and literary critics of Hellenistic Alexandria. But Origen and Eusebius, two scholars of late Roman Caesarea, did far more. Both produced new kinds of books, in which parallel columns made possible critical comparisons previously unenvisioned, whether between biblical texts or between national histories. Eusebius went even farther, creating new research tools, new forms of history and polemic, and a new kind of library to support both research and book production.Christianity and the Transformation of the Book combines broad-gauged synthesis and close textual analysis to reconstruct the kinds of books and the ways of organizing scholarly inquiry and collaboration among the Christians of Caesarea, on the coast of Roman Palestine. The book explores the dialectical relationship between intellectual history and the history of the book, even as it expands our understanding of early Christian scholarship. Christianity and the Transformation of the Book attends to the social, religious, intellectual, and institutional contexts within which Origen and Eusebius worked, as well as the details of their scholarly practices--practices that, the authors argue, continued to define major sectors of Christian learning for almost two millennia and are, in many ways, still with us today.,
For anyone who has blanched at the uphill prospect of finishing a long piece of writing, this book holds out something more practical than hope: it offers a plan. The Clockwork Muse is designed to help prospective authors develop a workable timetable for completing long and often formidable projects.The idea of dashing off a manuscript in a fit of manic inspiration may be romantic, but it is not particularly practical. Instead, Eviatar Zerubavel, a prolific and successful author, describes how to set up a writing schedule and regular work habits that will take most of the anxiety and procrastination out of long-term writing, and even make it enjoyable. The dreaded ‘writer’s block’ often turns out to be simply a need for a better grasp of the temporal organization of work.The Clockwork Muse rethinks the writing process in terms of time and organization. It offers writers a simple yet comprehensive framework that considers such variables as when to write, for how long, and how often, while keeping a sense of momentum throughout the entire project. It shows how to set priorities, balance ideals against constraints, and find the ideal time to write. For all those whose writing has languished, waiting for the “right moment,” The Clockwork Muse announces that the moment has arrived.
Volume 29 resumes themes begun in earlier letters: Thomas's flirtatious exchanges with Lady Ashburton, the recent death of his mother, the improvement of his soundproof room, and his struggle to pursue his research for Frederick the Great. Other notable items include Dickens's dedication of Hard Times to Thomas and Thomas's support of G. H. Lewes during the scandal over Lewes's affair with George Eliot. The highlight of the volume is a passionate and humorous letter by Jane, subtitled "Budget of a Femme Incomprise," in which she defends the rising cost of running their house.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, publishing houses in London, New York, Paris, Stuttgart, and Berlin produced books in ever greater numbers. But it was not just the advent of mass printing that created the era’s “bookish” culture. According to Andrew Piper, romantic writing and romantic writers played a crucial role in adjusting readers to this increasingly international and overflowing literary environment. Learning how to use and to want books occurred through more than the technological, commercial, or legal conditions that made the growing proliferation of books possible; the making of such bibliographic fantasies was importantly a product of the symbolic operations contained within books as well.
Examining novels, critical editions, gift books, translations, and illustrated books, as well as the communities who made them, Dreaming in Books tells a wide-ranging story of the book’s identity at the turn of the nineteenth century. In so doing, it shows how many of the most pressing modern communicative concerns are not unique to the digital age but emerged with a particular sense of urgency during the bookish upheavals of the romantic era. In revisiting the book’s rise through the prism of romantic literature, Piper aims to revise our assumptions about romanticism, the medium of the printed book, and, ultimately, the future of the book in our so-called digital age.
A new history explores the commercial heart of evangelical Christianity.American evangelicalism is big business. For decades, the world’s largest media conglomerates have sought out evangelical consumers, and evangelical books have regularly become international best sellers. In the early 2000s, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life spent ninety weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list and sold more than thirty million copies. But why have evangelicals achieved such remarkable commercial success?According to Daniel Vaca, evangelicalism depends upon commercialism. Tracing the once-humble evangelical book industry’s emergence as a lucrative center of the US book trade, Vaca argues that evangelical Christianity became religiously and politically prominent through business activity. Through areas of commerce such as branding, retailing, marketing, and finance, for-profit media companies have capitalized on the expansive potential of evangelicalism for more than a century.Rather than treat evangelicalism as a type of conservative Protestantism that market forces have commodified and corrupted, Vaca argues that evangelicalism is an expressly commercial religion. Although religious traditions seem to incorporate people who embrace distinct theological ideas and beliefs, Vaca shows, members of contemporary consumer society often participate in religious cultures by engaging commercial products and corporations. By examining the history of companies and corporate conglomerates that have produced and distributed best-selling religious books, bibles, and more, Vaca not only illustrates how evangelical ideas, identities, and alliances have developed through commercial activity but also reveals how the production of evangelical identity became a component of modern capitalism.
In Greco-Roman Egypt, recipes for magical undertaking, called magical formularies, commonly existed for love potions, curses, attempts to best business rivals—many of the same challenges that modern people might face. In The Greco-Egyptian Magical Formularies: Libraries, Books, and Individual Recipes, volume editors Christopher Faraone and Sofia Torallas Tovar present a series of essays by scholars involved in a multiyear project to reedit and translate the various magical handbooks that were inscribed in the Roman period in the Greek or Egyptian languages. For the first time, the material remains of these papyrus rolls and codices are closely examined, revealing important information about the production of books in Egypt, the scribal culture in which they were produced, and the traffic in single recipes copied from them. Especially important for historians of the book and the Christian Bible are new insights in the historical shift from roll to codex, complicated methods of inscribing the bilingual papyri (in which the Greek script is written left to right and the demotic script right to left), and the new realization that several of the longest extant handbooks are clearly compilations of two or more shorter handbooks, which may have come from different places. The essays also reexamine and rethink the idea that these handbooks came from the personal libraries of practicing magicians or temple scriptoria, in one case going so far as to suggest that two of the handbooks had literary pretensions of a sort and were designed to be read for pleasure rather than for quotidian use in making magical recipes.
An Open Letters Review Best Book of the Year“Grafton presents largely unfamiliar material…in a clear, even breezy style…Erudite.”—Michael Dirda, Washington PostIn this celebration of bookmaking in all its messy and intricate detail, Anthony Grafton captures both the physical and mental labors that went into the golden age of the book—compiling notebooks, copying and correcting proofs, preparing copy—and shows us how scribes and scholars shaped influential treatises and forgeries.Inky Fingers ranges widely, from the theological polemics of the early days of printing to the pathbreaking works of Jean Mabillon and Baruch Spinoza. Grafton draws new connections between humanistic traditions and intellectual innovations, textual learning and the delicate, arduous, error-riddled craft of making books. Through it all, he reminds us that the life of the mind depends on the work of the hands, and the nitty gritty labor of printmakers has had a profound impact on the history of ideas.“Describes magnificent achievements, storms of controversy, and sometimes the pure devilment of scholars and printers…Captivating and often amusing.”—Wall Street Journal“Ideas, in this vivid telling, emerge not just from minds but from hands, not to mention the biceps that crank a press or heft a ream of paper.”—New York Review of Books“Grafton upends idealized understandings of early modern scholarship and blurs distinctions between the physical and mental labor that made the remarkable works of this period possible.”—Christine Jacobson, Book Post“Scholarship is a kind of heroism in Grafton’s account, his nine protagonists’ aching backs and tired eyes evidence of their valiant dedication to the pursuit of knowledge.”—London Review of Books
Scholars have long emphasized the importance of scripture in studying religion, tacitly separating a few privileged “religions of the Book” from faiths lacking sacred texts, including ancient Roman religion. Looking beyond this distinction, Duncan MacRae delves into Roman religious culture to grapple with a central question: what was the significance of books in a religion without scripture?In the last two centuries BCE, Varro and other learned Roman authors wrote treatises on the nature of the Roman gods and the rituals devoted to them. Although these books were not sacred texts, they made Roman religion legible in ways analogous to scripture-based faiths such as Judaism and Christianity. Rather than reflect the astonishingly varied polytheistic practices of the regions under Roman sway, the contents of the books comprise Rome’s “civil theology”—not a description of an official state religion but one limited to the civic role of religion in Roman life. An extended comparison between Roman books and the Mishnah—an early Rabbinic compilation of Jewish practice and law—highlights the important role of nonscriptural texts in the demarcation of religious systems.Tracing the subsequent influence of Roman religious texts from the late first century BCE to early fifth century CE, Legible Religion shows how two major developments—the establishment of the Roman imperial monarchy and the rise of the Christian Church—shaped the reception and interpretation of Roman civil theology.
In this revelatory book, Sudhir Venkatesh takes us into Maquis Park, a poor black neighborhood on Chicago’s Southside, to explore the desperate, dangerous, and remarkable ways in which a community survives. We find there an entire world of unregulated, unreported, and untaxed work, a system of living off the books that is daily life in the ghetto. From women who clean houses and prepare lunches for the local hospital to small-scale entrepreneurs like the mechanic who works in an alley; from the preacher who provides mediation services to the salon owner who rents her store out for gambling parties; and from street vendors hawking socks and incense to the drug dealing and extortion of the local gang, we come to see how these activities form the backbone of the ghetto economy.What emerges are the innumerable ways that these men and women, immersed in their shadowy economic pursuits, are connected to and reliant upon one another. The underground economy, as Venkatesh’s subtle storytelling reveals, functions as an intricate web, and in the strength of its strands lie the fates of many Maquis Park residents. The result is a dramatic narrative of individuals at work, and a rich portrait of a community. But while excavating the efforts of men and women to generate a basic livelihood for themselves and their families, Off the Books offers a devastating critique of the entrenched poverty that we so often ignore in America, and reveals how the underground economy is an inevitable response to the ghetto’s appalling isolation from the rest of the country.
The Power of Words: Anglo-Saxon Studies Presented to Donald G. Scragg on his Seventieth Birthday edited by Jonathan Wilcox and Hugh Magennis will find its place on the same shelf with these and other such valuable tomes in the discipline. This is a complex and carefully edited book, that showcases the work of some of Professor Scragg’s best students and most admiring professional friends. The contents range from several studies in homiletic literature, one of Professor Scragg’s own passions, to other of his pursuits, including editing theory and orthography. These are not, however, derivative essays that recommend a single adjustment in a reading or to a source study; instead, they are studies that do what Professor Scragg himself did: they observe clues to larger realities, and they point the way to a broader comprehension of our discipline and its several methodologies.
Printing and Prophecy: Prognostication and Media Change 1450-1550 examines prognostic traditions and late medieval prophetic texts in the first century of printing and their effect on the new medium of print. The many prophetic and prognostic works that followed Europe's earliest known printed book---not the Gutenberg Bible, but the Sibyl's Prophecy, printed by Gutenberg two years earlier and known today only from a single page---over the next century were perennial best sellers for many printers, and they provide the modern observer with a unique way to study the history and inner workings of the print medium. The very popularity of these works, often published as affordable booklets, raised fears of social unrest. Printers therefore had to meet customer demand while at the same time channeling readers' reactions along approved paths. Authors were packaged---and packaged themselves---in word and image to respond to the tension, while leading figures of early modern culture such as Paracelsus, Martin Luther, and Sebastian Brant used printed prophecies for their own purposes in a rapidly changing society.
Based on a wide reading of many sources, Printing and Prophecy contributes to the study of early modern literature, including how print changed the relationship among authors, readers, and texts. The prophetic and astrological texts the book examines document changes in early modern society that are particularly relevant to German studies and are key texts for understanding the development of science, religion, and popular culture in the early modern period. By combining the methods of cultural studies and book history, this volume brings a new perspective to the study of Gutenberg and later printers.
The little-known story of the sophisticated and vibrant Arabic book culture that flourished during the Middle Ages.During the thirteenth century, Europe’s largest library owned fewer than 2,000 volumes. Libraries in the Arab world at the time had exponentially larger collections. Five libraries in Baghdad alone held between 200,000 and 1,000,000 books each, including multiple copies of standard works so that their many patrons could enjoy simultaneous access.How did the Arabic codex become so popular during the Middle Ages, even as the well-established form languished in Europe? Beatrice Gruendler’s The Rise of the Arabic Book answers this question through in-depth stories of bookmakers and book collectors, stationers and librarians, scholars and poets of the ninth century.The history of the book has been written with an outsize focus on Europe. The role books played in shaping the great literary cultures of the world beyond the West has been less known—until now. An internationally renowned expert in classical Arabic literature, Gruendler corrects this oversight and takes us into the rich literary milieu of early Arabic letters.
Biondo Flavio (1392–1463), humanist and historian, was a pioneering figure in the Renaissance discovery of antiquity; famously, he was the author who popularized the term “Middle Age” to describe the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of antiquity in his own time. While serving a number of Renaissance popes, he inaugurated an extraordinary program of research into the history, cultural life, and physical remains of the ancient world.The capstone of this research program, Rome in Triumph (1459), has been said to bear comparison with the Encyclopédie of Diderot as the embodiment of the ideals of an age, seeking as it does to answer the overarching question of humanists from Petrarch to Machiavelli: what made Rome great? To answer the question Biondo undertakes a comprehensive reconstruction of Rome’s religion, government, military organization, customs and institutions over its thousand-year history. This volume contains the first edition of the Latin text since 1559 and the first translation into any modern language.
The biography of Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, who was awarded the highly prestigious Melvil Dewey Medal by the American Library Association in 2015, will be welcomed by readers interested in knowing not only more about Lee’s personal achievements and contributions in librarianship but also about the rapid changes in the library profession in general. The biography, written by Ms. Yang Yang of China Central Television in Beijing, was first published in Chinese in China in 2011. It was republished in Taiwan with added information in 2014. This English edition, translated by Dr. Ying Zhang of the Universityof California in Irvine, was updated by Lee.
Throughout his childhood and youth, Lee experienced tremendous hardship during the brutal Sino-Japanese War and then the Chinese civil war, described in the first three chapters. After arriving in the United States as a graduate student from Taiwan in 1957, he struggled to realize the American dream by studying hard and working diligently in the field of librarianship for nearly half a century.
The biography explores Lee’s career at major academic libraries, beginning at the University of Pittsburgh to his retirement from Ohio University, including his seven years of library directorship at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Agency for International Development. After his first retirement, Lee was invited by OCLC to become a Visiting Distinguished Scholar. From there he was appointed Chief of the Asian Division at the Library of Congress and retired for the second time in 2008.
The biography also highlights Lee’s contributions in international librarianship, especially in the promotion of library cooperation between the United States and China.
The passage of texts from scroll to codex created a revolution in the religious life of late antiquity. It played a decisive role in the Roman Empire’s conversion to Christianity and eventually enabled the worldwide spread of Christian faith. The Scriptural Universe of Ancient Christianity describes how canonical scripture was established and how scriptural interpretation replaced blood sacrifice as the central element of religious ritual. Perhaps more than any other cause, Guy G. Stroumsa argues, the codex converted the Roman Empire from paganism to Christianity.The codex permitted a mode of religious transmission across vast geographical areas, as sacred texts and commentaries circulated in book translations within and beyond Roman borders. Although sacred books had existed in ancient societies, they were now invested with a new aura and a new role at the core of religious ceremony. Once the holy book became central to all aspects of religious experience, the floodgates were opened for Greek and Latin texts to be reimagined and repurposed as proto-Christian. Most early Christian theologians did not intend to erase Greek and Roman cultural traditions; they were content to selectively adopt the texts and traditions they deemed valuable and compatible with the new faith, such as Platonism. The new cultura christiana emerging in late antiquity would eventually become the backbone of European identity.
Bauer first saw the Codex Cardona in 1985 in the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, where scholars from Stanford and the University of California were attempting to establish its authenticity. Allowed to gently lift a few pages of this ancient treasure, Bauer was hooked. By 1986, the Codex had again disappeared from public view. Bauer’s curiosity about the Codex and its whereabouts led him down many forking paths—from California to Seville and Mexico City, to the Firestone Library in Princeton, to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and Christie’s in New York—and it brought him in contact with an international cast of curators, agents, charlatans, and erudite book dealers. The Search for the Codex Cardona is a mystery that touches on issues of cultural patrimony, the workings of the rare books and manuscripts trade, the uncertainty of archives and evidence, and the ephemerality of the past and its remains.
This revised and enlarged edition of A Selected List of Books and Articles on Japan in English, French, and German, first published in 1940, contains more than seventeen hundred titles which have been carefully chosen to guide the general reader and to aid the serious student of Japanese civilization in his research. Certain items included in the first edition have been eliminated, and hundreds of new entries, including material published during and after World War II, have been added. The list is divided into section which deal with bibliography, geography, history, political and social sciences, religion and philosophy, language, literature, art, et cetera. Subdivision of these sections facilitates the search for books and articles on a particular subject. The entries are arranged alphabetically by author and are individually numbered. An author, title, and subject index also contributes to the usefulness of the book.There is no other convenient selected list of this sort on Japan. Scholars, journalists, government personnel, and other who wish to obtain information concerning books and articles on Japan will find this book an invaluable guide.
Dutch scholars have recognized that Frans Fraet was executed for printing a prognostication by Willem de Vriese, but this prognostication was thought to be lost. A few scholars of sixteenth-century German apocalypticism have briefly noted the prophecies of Wilhelm Friess but have not studied them in depth. The Strange and Terrible Visions of Wilhelm Friess is the first to connect de Vriese and Friess, as well as recognize the prophecy of Wilhelm Friess as an adaptation of a French version of theVademecum of Johannes de Rupescissa, making these pamphlets by far the most widespread source for Rupescissa’s apocalyptic thought in Reformation Germany. The book explains the connection between the first and second prophecies of Wilhelm Friess and discovers the Calvinist context of the second prophecy and its connection to Johann Fischart, one of the most important German writers of the time.
Jonathan Green provides a study of how textual history interacts with print history in early modern pamphlets and proposes a model of how early modern prophecies were created and transmitted. The Strange and Terrible Visions of Wilhelm Friess makes important contributions to the study of early modern German and Dutch literature, apocalypticism and confessionalization during the Reformation, and the history of printing in the sixteenth century.
With original contributions from a diverse range of teachers, scholars, and practitioners in literary studies, history, book arts, library science, language studies, and archives, Teaching the History of the Book is the first collection of its kind dedicated to book history pedagogy. Presenting a variety of methods for teaching book history both as its own subject and as an approach to other material, each chapter describes lessons, courses, and programs centered on the latest and best ways of teaching undergraduate and graduate students.
Expansive and instructive, this volume introduces ways of helping students consider how texts were produced, circulated, and received, with chapters that cover effective ways to organize courses devoted to book history, classroom activities that draw on this subject in other courses, and an overview of selected print and digital tools. Contributors, many of whom are leading figures in the field, utilize their own classroom experiences to bring to life some of the rich possibilities for teaching book history in the twenty-first century.
In addition to the volume editors, contributors include Ryan Cordell, Brigitte Fielder, Barbara Hochman, Leslie Howsam, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Clare Mullaney, Kate Ozment, Leah Price, Jonathan Rose, Jonathan Senchyne, Sarah Wadsworth, and others.
In Western thought, the modern period signals a break with stagnant social formations, the advent of a new rationalism, and the emergence of a truly secular order, all in the context of an overarching globalization. In The Twilight of the Literary, Terry Cochran links these developments with the rise of the book as the dominant medium for recording, preserving, and disseminating thought. Consequently, his book explores the role that language plays in elaborating modern self-understanding. It delves into what Cochran calls the "figures of thought" that have been an essential component of modern consciousness in the age of print technology--and questions the relevance of this "print-bound" thinking in a world where print no longer dominates.Cochran begins by examining major efforts of the eighteenth century that proved decisive for modern conceptions of history, knowledge, and print. After tracing late medieval formulations of vernacular language that proved crucial to print, he analyzes the figures of thought in print culture as they proceed from the idea of the collective spirit (the "people"), an elaboration of modern history. Cochran reconsiders basic texts that, in his analysis, reveal the underpinnings of modernity's formation--from Dante and Machiavelli to Antonio Gramsci and Walter Benjamin. Moving from premodern models for collective language to competing theories of history, his work offers unprecedented insight into the means by which modern consciousness has come to know itself.
A literary scholar explains how eighteenth-century novels were manufactured, sold, bought, owned, collected, and read alongside Protestant religious texts. As the novel developed into a mature genre, it had to distinguish itself from these similar-looking books and become what we now call “literature.”Literary scholars have explained the rise of the Anglophone novel using a range of tools, from Ian Watt’s theories to James Watt’s inventions. Contrary to established narratives, When Novels Were Books reveals that the genre beloved of so many readers today was not born secular, national, middle-class, or female.For the first three centuries of their history, novels came into readers’ hands primarily as printed sheets ordered into a codex bound along one edge between boards or paper wrappers. Consequently, they shared some formal features of other codices, such as almanacs and Protestant religious books produced by the same printers. Novels are often mistakenly credited for developing a formal feature (“character”) that was in fact incubated in religious books.The novel did not emerge all at once: it had to differentiate itself from the goods with which it was in competition. Though it was written for sequential reading, the early novel’s main technology for dissemination was the codex, a platform designed for random access. This peculiar circumstance led to the genre’s insistence on continuous, cover-to-cover reading even as the “media platform” it used encouraged readers to dip in and out at will and read discontinuously. Jordan Alexander Stein traces this tangled history, showing how the physical format of the book shaped the stories that were fit to print.
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