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Week 1: What is the History of Books?

Seminar Questions

  • What is the history of the book?
  • How is a book printed, and why does this matter to the historian?
  • How can the history of the book contribute to the history of empire (and vice versa)?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of Darnton’s ‘communication circuit’?

Seminar Readings

* Darnton, Robert, ‘What Is the History of Books?’ Daedalus, 111 (1982)

* Mosley, James, ‘The Technologies of Print’, in Suarez, Michael and H. R. Woudhuysen (eds), The Book: A Global History (Oxford University Press, 2013)

* Burton, Antoinette, and Isabel Hofmeyr, ‘Introduction: The Spine of Empire’, in Burton and Hofmeyr (eds), Ten Books That Shaped the British Empire: Creating an Imperial Commons (Durham, NC, 2014)

* Withers, Charles W. J and Miles Ogborn, ‘Introduction: Book Geography. Book History’, in Withers, Charles W. J and Miles Ogborn (eds), Geographies of the Book (London, 2010)

Additional Readings

Altick, Richard, English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public, 1800-1900 (Chicago, IL, 1957)

Boehmer, E., Kunstmann, R., Mukhopadhyay, P., Rogers, A. (eds), The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices (London, 2017)

Burton, Antoinette, and Isabel Hofmeyr (eds), Ten Books That Shaped the British Empire: Creating an Imperial Commons (Durham, NC, 2014)

Eisenstein, Elizabeth L, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2012)

Gaskell, Philip, A New Introduction to Bibliography (Oxford, 1972)

Johns, Adrian, The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (Chicago, IL, 2000)

Keighren, Innes M, 'Geographies of the Book: Review and Prospect', Geography Compass, 7 (2013)

Klancher, Jon P, The Making of English Reading Audiences, 1790-1832 (Madison, WI 1987)

Michael F. Suarez, and H. R. Woudhuysen, The Book: A Global History (Oxford, 2013)

Withers, Charles W. J and Miles Ogborn (eds), Geographies of the Book (London, 2010)

Seminar Powerpoint

Powerpoint - Week 1

Seminar Books

Penny Magazine

Nineteenth-century quarter leather binding with marbled boards.

The Penny Magazine (1832-45)

Penny Magazine

Reader's notes in French.

The Penny Magazine (1832-45)

Penny Magazine

'George J. Hilton', owner's inscription.

The Penny Magazine (1832-45)