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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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... English 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 ...

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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... to 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 ...

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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... Who​ invented English literature? English literature, that is, as a conceptual category defined by canon and tradition? The 18th century has provided most of the candidates. There were opinion formers like Joseph Addison, who airbrushed out Milton’s regicidal politics, or David Garrick, who turned Shakespeare from upstart crow into national bard; there were theoreticians of ‘original composition’ like Edward Young, who set a premium on the rejection of classical models; there were book-trade entrepreneurs whose huge poetry anthologies cashed in on the landmark case of Donaldson v ...

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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... cutts’. Page after page displays eyes, chins, mouths (grinning, aghast, pursed), ears, hands and feet, each part excised from the whole to float in a manner both exemplary and forlorn. This is the body chopped, sliced and pulled apart to enable its artistic recomposition. There are ...

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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... that the new specialism of publishing history has produced. But as a model for others it poses difficulties. Booktrade materials are mostly very boring. Very few books are as obviously historically significant as Diderot’s was in the late 18th century, nor do they have as excitingly subversive careers. The average book is an article of ...

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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... until the target individual was reached. Milgrim found that the number of intermediate links ranged from two to ten, with five being the most common number .... This study goes some way toward explaining how confidential information, rumours and jokes percolate so rapidly through a population. It also goes some way towards suggesting how a large group can ...

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