Agreeable eye.

an eudæmonistarchives

Generally: the object of the book

Old Books and New Histories

Leslie Howsam. Old Books and New Histories. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006. This is an introductory ‘state of the discipline’ textbook suitable for undergraduates or first-year graduate students. It gives a brief overview of what is involved in studying ‘book history’, as well as current theories and controversies. From the preface: These approaches are […]

An Undisciplined Discipline?

Cyndia Clegg, Renaissance Quarterly (2001): A dispassionate, professional review article on a selection of books relating to books, literacy, and print culture in the Renaissance…

The Gutenberg Elegies

Sven Birkerts. The Gutenberg Elegies. New York: faber & faber, 2006 (1994). Dean Blobaum’s review cogently summarizes many of the problems with Birkerts’ book, most notably: Birkerts’s musings on reading were quite different; they were apparently the product of intense introspection, vibrant with experience and reflection. He got at what he wanted to get at […]

The Printing Revolution

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: CUP, 1983. This is an abridgment – intended for the general reader – of Eisenstein’s longer monograph The Printing Press as an Agent of Change; it suffers from some of the faults of ‘popular’ history: no footnotes, inadequate references, and a certain condescension on […]

The Business of Books

André Schiffrin. The Business of Books. London: Verso, 2000. Schiffrin’s book is both memoir and anecdotal criticism of the publishing industry. Starting at the New American Library of World Literature (a Penguin clone) in the 1950s, he moved on to Pantheon which was then acquired by Random House, then S.I. Newhouse, and finally Bertelsmann. He […]

Life Story of a Technology

Nicole Howard. The Book: The Life Story of a Technology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2009 (2005). This is a solid introductory text about book history, primarily from a technological standpoint, including some information on supporting technologies such as paper. It divides book history into six periods, centering on the development of print. Much of the […]

A Publisher Speaking

Geoffrey Faber. A Publisher Speaking. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935 (1934). A Publisher Speaking is a collection of five talks about the book industry given to various audiences between 1931 and 1934 by Geoffrey Faber, the founder of Faber and Faber. The contents of the volume are as follows: On Bookselling (i): A Publisher Looks at […]

Print is Dead

Jeff Gomez. Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age. London: Macmillan, 2008. Cf. permanent failure of digital publishing. The person who designed the interior must have been decidedly cranky. One could complain about setting it in a sans-serif, but that’s just typical for British books of this sort. The margins are the main issue […]

A Feeling for Books

Janice A. Radway. A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire. Chapel Hill, NC: University of NC Press, 1997. Radway’s book, along with her earlier Reading the Romance, is a classic of readership studies. It is organized into three broad sections (which will be summarized in greater detail below): a study […]

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