By Leslie Howsam
Reviews within the tradition and background of the booklet are a burgeoning educational strong point. fascinating, rigorous, and important, they're however rooted inside of 3 significant educational disciplines - heritage, literary reports, and bibliography - that spotlight respectively upon the booklet as a cultural transaction, a literary textual content, and a fabric artefact. outdated Books and New Histories serves as a consultant to this wealthy yet occasionally complicated territory, explaining how diversified scholarly ways to what might seem to be an analogous entity may end up in divergent questions and contradictory solutions. instead of introduce the occasions and turning issues within the background of booklet tradition, or debates between its theorists, Leslie Howsam makes use of an array of books and articles to provide an orientation to the sector when it comes to disciplinary obstacles and interdisciplinary tensions. Howsam's research maps stories of publication and print tradition onto the disciplinary constitution of the North American and eu educational world.
Old Books and New Histories is additionally an engaged assertion of the ancient point of view of the e-book. within the bottom line, the lesson of reviews in ebook and print tradition is that texts swap, books are mutable, and readers eventually make of books what they want.
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Additional info for Old Books and New Histories: An Orientation to Studies in Book and Print Culture
My strategy will be to follow a single work in all its use~ and manifestations - in conversation, solitude, authorship, leamed debate, religious controversy, civic politics, and the making of knowledge. We can then begin to understand the role of the printed word in forging new senses of identity in the industrial age. Rather unexpectedly, tracking a work like Vestiges proves to be especially revealing, for the handful of scientific books that become sensations have left more identifiable traces than comparable works of fiction, history, and poetry.
The cycle of the book becomes the centre: the indirect forces are seen outside it, looking and pressing inwards. Instead of the six groups of people who make the 'Communications Network' operation we have five events in the life of a book- publishing, manufacturing, distribution, reception and survival whose sequence constitutes a system of communication and can in tum precipitate other cycles. --+- _____ ~ - Figure 4 From 'A New Model for the Study of the Book,' in A Potencie of Life: Books in Society.
29 The real differences among the three approaches sometimes lead to derisive commentary that can be read as offensive. We shall see below, for example, a historian who jokes about students of the material text as if the study of watermarks were intrinsically elitist or antiquarian, and a bibliographer who appropriates to· his own discipline the whole project of that of historians. 3° Such attitudes are unhelpful in an interdisciplinary enterprise. Different disciplines ask not only different questions, but different kinds of questions.
Old Books and New Histories: An Orientation to Studies in Book and Print Culture by Leslie Howsam