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The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book
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Book description

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.


‘Francis Bacon said ‘some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly'. This book is firmly in the latter category. My own copy is already looking somewhat mauled and well used, with ample marginalia, highlighted lines and references, and bookmarks sticking out of key sections. I cannot think of a better way to show how highly I recommend it.’

Samantha J. Rayner Source: English

'As a whole, the collection accomplishes what it sets out to do: it is an effective introduction to the field and its issues and practices, and it points the way toward new and exciting developments.'

Marta Kvande Source: Papers of the Fall Bibliographical Society of Canada

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Guide to further reading

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