Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1940

By Carl F. Kaestle; Janice A. Radway | Go to book overview

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Theoretical and General Works

The study of print history has developed into a thriving, interdisciplinary subfield over the past two decades. Creative collaborations among social historians, literary theorists, library studies experts, bibliographers, communications scholars, and others are common. Such teamwork has been essential to the conception and completion of this volume in the fivevolume project, A History of the Book in America. The empirical knowledge, theories, and practices of these various contributing disciplines are quite disparate. This makes conversations interesting and the construction of a bibliography difficult. Also, the period treated in this volume was a time of profound turbulence and change in American life, which has inspired a massive amount of analysis work by historians and literary scholars intent on understanding how “modern” America evolved. For both of these reasons, a bibliographical essay can only sketch the parameters and cite the works that we have found most helpful.


Theoretical Works

Roger Chartier is one of the most influential theorists working on the history of books and reading. He has been cogent about efforts to create order through books and, conversely, the considerable potential for readers to make their own interpretations of what they read. See Chartier, The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994); Chartier, Forms and Meanings: Texts, Performances, and Audiences from Codex to Computer (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995); and Chartier, “Frenchness in the History of the Book: From the History of Publishing to the History of Reading,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 97 (1987): 299–329. Robert Darnton, another historian of France, has also published influential monographs and theoretical articles on the history of the book. See The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie, 1775–1800 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979); The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Basic Books, 1984); and the article in which his famous “circuit” metaphor is developed, “What Is the History of Books?” Daedalus 111 (1982): 65–83. Chartier’s interest in the work of Michel de Certeau has helped popularize de Certeau’s work among historians of print in the United States, particularly The Practices of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), which theorizes about the “strategies” of print producers and the “tactics” of readers. Sociologists who have tackled print culture include Herbert Gans, in Popular Culture and High Culture: An Analysis and Evaluation of Taste (New York: Basic Books, 1974), and, earlier, Robert Escarpit, Sociology of Literature, trans. Ernest Pick (Painesville, Ohio: Lake Erie College Studies, 1965). Another classic whose influence made its way across the

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