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The Tangible Page

Leah Price: Books as Things, 31 October 2002

The Book History Reader 
edited by David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery.
Routledge, 390 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 415 22658 9
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Making Meaning: ‘Printers of the Mind’ and Other Essays 
by D.F. McKenzie, edited by Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez.
Massachusetts, 296 pp., £20.95, June 2002, 1 55849 336 0
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... Literature, and the names most ubiquitous in The Book History Reader, Roger Chartier and D.F. McKenzie, can be found on none of the new Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism’s several thousand pages. Perhaps this is as it should be; to call book history a theory would be to read it against the grain. For many literary critics a decade ago, the study ...

Theory of Texts

Jerome McGann, 18 February 1988

Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts: The Panizzi Lectures 1985 
by D.F. McKenzie.
British Library, 80 pp., £10, December 1986, 0 7123 0085 6
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... history is one signal, or perhaps one aspect, of something more fundamental, something which D.F. McKenzie’s three lectures on bibliography and the sociology of texts call more clearly to our attention. In a series of initial, critical remarks on theory of bibliography, McKenzie suggests that ‘historical ...

Rub gently out with stale bread

Adam Smyth: The Print Craze, 2 November 2017

The Print Before Photography: An Introduction to European Printmaking 1550-1820 
by Antony Griffiths.
British Museum, 560 pp., £60, August 2016, 978 0 7141 2695 1
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... could be a work of art’. While recent studies of the history of the book have, after D.F. McKenzie, richly described the relations between printers, publishers, authors and readers, work on early modern prints has generally lacked this kind of sociology. Griffiths’s The Print Before Photography maps out precisely this culture of the print, rather as ...

Mastering the Art of Understating Your Wealth

Thomas Keymer: The Tonsons, 4 May 2016

The Literary Correspondences of the Tonsons 
edited by Stephen Bernard.
Oxford, 386 pp., £95, March 2015, 978 0 19 870085 2
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... manuscript, and presented the poem handsomely on the page. For the great bibliographer D.F. McKenzie, Tonson’s Works of Mr William Congreve (1710) is a masterpiece in which all aspects of the book’s physical appearance contribute to literary meaning. Tonson adapted better than Dryden to the consequences of the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 that ...

Devouring the pangolin

John Sutherland, 25 October 1990

The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History 
by Robert Darnton.
Faber, 393 pp., £25, September 1990, 0 571 14423 3
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... like Jerome McGann (who sees the text as an inherently collaborative production) and D.F. McKenzie (who has proposed a ‘sociology of the text’) come down firmly on Darnton’s side. From the prospectus, it looks very much as if the multi-volume History of the Book in Britain which Cambridge University Press have commissioned (under the general ...

Concini and the Squirrel

Peter Campbell, 24 May 1990

Innumeracy 
by John Allen Paulos.
135 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 670 83008 9
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The Culture of Print 
edited by Roger Chartier.
351 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 7456 0575 3
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Symbols of Ideal Life 
by Maren Stange.
Cambridge, 190 pp., £25, June 1989, 0 521 32441 6
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TheLines of My Hand 
by Robert Frank.
£30, September 1989, 0 436 16256 3
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... and other studies like it, have taken the investigation of the ‘sociology of texts’ which D.F. McKenzie adumbrated in his Panizzi Lectures not long ago to the point where the importance of the textual environment to the interpretation of canonical texts is being assessed. When Pope made detailed drawings of how pages should look, or when Congreve ...

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