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Preliminary Reading List

Teaching the History of the Book

Michael F. Suarez, S.J.

Preliminary Advices

In this RBS offering, we will be leading a series of discussions about pedagogical approaches to teaching the history of the book on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The reading below will constitute the texts for the discussions. Building on these conversations, each student will have an opportunity to prepare and present to the group an individual session on some topic in the history of the book as a practicum. This will allow everyone to engineer his/her own “experiment” before the term begins.

The reading is a small sample from a huge literature now available on any and every aspect of the history of the book. We have selected individual titles either because they have achieved the status of a “classic” in the field or because they are provocative and provide an interesting perspective. If we have overlooked your “favorite,” please do let us know.

    Required course reading

  1. Darnton, Robert. “What is the History of the Book?” in Daedalus, 111:3 (Summer, 1982).
    A frequently reprinted article.
  2. Howard, Nicole. The Book: The Life Story of a Technology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2009).
  3. Howsam, Leslie. Old Books and New Histories: An Orientation to Studies in Book and Print Culture. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2006.
  4. McKenzie, D. F. Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts. London: British Library, 1986.
    NB: Pay particular attention to titular essay.
  5. Tanselle, G. Thomas. Bibliographical Analysis: A Historical Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2009). 
  6. Williams, William Proctor and Craig S. Abbot, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies [third or fourth edition] (New York: Modern language Association of America, 2009).
  7. Recommended course reading

  8. Hawkins, Ann R., ed. Teaching Bibliography, Textual Criticism and Book History. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2006.
    Additional pedagogical web-essays at Pickering & Chatto.
  9. McKenzie,D. F. Making Meaning: "Printers of the Mind" and Other Essays, Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez, S.J., eds. The University of Massachusetts Press [Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book], 2002.
  10. McGann, Jerome J. “The Socialization of the Text.” The Textual Condition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1991, pp 69-83.
  11. McGann, Jerome J. Black Riders: The Visible Language of Modernism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.
  12. Finkelstein, David, and Alistair McCleery. An Introduction to Book History. New York; London: Routledge, 2005.
    This text is best as a review than an introduction since it presupposes a knowledge of the conversation.
  13. Shillingsburg, Peter. From Gutenberg to Google. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge UP, 2006.
  14. Hume, Robert. “Aims and Uses of Textual Scholarship ” in PBSA, 99.2 (June 2005), pp 197-230.
  15. Cowley, Des, and Clare Williamson. The World of the Book. Victoria, Australia: The Miengunyah Press, 2010.
  16. Kelemen, Erick. Textual Editing and Criticism. New York; London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2009.

    Recommended browsing as interest, time and money allows; Or, a list for the over-achiever

  1. Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972; corr edn 1974; several subsequent British and American reprintings with minor corrections; paperback edn published in 1995 by Oak Knoll.
  2. Greetham, D.C. Textual Scholarship. New York; London: Garland, 1994.
  3. de Hamel, Christopher. The Book: A History of the Bible. London; New York: Phaidon, 2001.
  4. Eisenstein, Elizabeth. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
  5. Ezell, Margaret. Social Authorship and the Advent of Print. Baltimore; London: Johns Hopkins UP, 1999, pp 1-40.
  6. Jackson, H. J. Marginalia. New Haven: Yale UP, 2001.
  7. Manguel, Alberto. A History of Reading. New York: Penguin, 1997.
  8. Olmert, Michael. The Smithsonian Book of Books. Washington: Smithsonian, 1992.
  9. Sher, Richard B. The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America . Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2006.
  10. Woudhuysen, Henry. “Introduction.” Sir Philip Sidney and the Circulation of Manuscripts. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996, pp 1-21.
  11. See also:

  12. Journals to browse, according to interest: Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America; Book History (an annual published by SHARP); Publishing History; The Library.
  13. Any of the various national histories of the book, such as the History of the Book in England, History of the Book in America, or L'Histoire de l'edition francaise.