Throughout human history, the world's knowledge and fruits of the creative imagination have been produced, circulated and received through the medium of the material text. This Companion provides a wide-ranging account of the history of the book and its ways of thinking about works from ancient inscription to contemporary e-books, discussing thematic, chronological and methodological aspects of this interdisciplinary field. The first part considers book cultures from local, national and global perspectives. Part two, organized around the dynamic relationship between the material book and the mutable text, develops a loosely chronological narrative from early writing, through manuscript and early printing, to the institution of a mechanized book trade, and on to the globalization of publishing and the introduction of the electronic book. A third part takes a practical turn, discussing methods, sources and approaches: bibliographical, archival and reading experience methodologies, as well as pedagogical strategies.
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Chronology; 1. The study of book history Leslie Howsam; Part I. Book Cultures, Local, National and Global: 2. Books in the library Karen Attar; 3. Books in the nation Trish Loughran; 4. Books in global perspectives Sydney Shep; Part II. The Material Book and the Mutable Text: 5. Materials and meanings Peter Stoicheff; 6. Handwriting and the book Margaret J. M. Ezell; 7. The coming of print to Europe Adrian Johns; 8. The authority and subversiveness of print in early modern Europe Cyndia Clegg; 9. The industrial revolution of the book James Raven; 10. The book in the long twentieth century Alistair McCleery; 11. The digital book Jon Bath and Scott Schofield; Part III. Methods, Sources and Approaches to the History of the Book: 12. Book history from descriptive bibliographies Michael F. Suarez, S.J.; 13. Book history from the archival record Katherine Bode and Roger Osborne; 14. Book history in the reading experience Mary Hammond; 15. Book history in the classroom Leslie Howsam; Glossary of technical terms; Guide to further reading.
Leslie Howsam is University Professor in the Department of History at the University of Windsor, Ontario. She is author or editor of seven significant books and numerous articles, most notably Old Books and New Histories: An Orientation to Studies in Book and Print Culture (2006) and Past into Print: The Publishing of History in Britain, 1850–1950 (2009).