Academic journal article The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History

Ian Gadd, Ed.: The History of the Book in the West: 1455-1700

Academic journal article The Journal of the Early Book Society for the Study of Manuscripts and Printing History

Ian Gadd, Ed.: The History of the Book in the West: 1455-1700

Article excerpt

IAN GADD, ED.

The History of the Book in the West: 1455-1700, Volume II.

Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2010. xlii + 526 pp. 36 B&W illus.

The title of this volume is something of a misnomer. As series editor Alexis Weedon explains in the preface, Gadd's selection of essays for his volume does not detail the history of the book as such, but rather the history of the history of the book. As Gadd explains: "a new kind of interest in the book as an object of study has emerged--one that is more concerned with the book in history, the book as cultural artefact, the book as social phenomenon" (xi). Gadd's premise is a fascinating one and is one of the points that sets this volume apart from its many rivals. Indeed, Gadd has created "a deliberate and considered reflection of how the 'history of the book' has manifested itself" (xi) since the late 1950s. Although no articles older than 1996 are reproduced, the shadow of Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin's L'Apparition du Livre looms large over the introduction.

The volume is divided into four somewhat unequally sized parts: Typography; the Impact of Print; Practice; Selling; and Reading. Gadd has exercised considerable care in his selection of the seventeen essays that appear in his volume. After paying very short shrift to typography--though the two essays chosen to represent such a huge field, works by Blaise Aguera y a Arcas on Gutenburg's type and Nicolas Barker on the Aldine Italic are excellent--Gadd moves on to what would appear to be his major interest, examining competing scholarly opinions about the importance of the book. This approach is at its strongest when Elizabeth L. Eisenstein is balanced against her great critic Anthony T. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.