A History of Reading in the West (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book (Paperback))

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9781558494114: A History of Reading in the West (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book (Paperback))
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"This collection of authoritative essays on reading since the ancient Greeks marks the culmination of more than twenty years of work. [The editors] have assembled the leading scholars in the history of reading to provide a well-balanced, nearly comprehensive survey of developments in the West.... Mandatory reading for all scholars and their students in the history of the book and its many uses." - Libraries and Culture; "It is no exaggeration to say that these historians, mining sources ranging from the financial records of trade fairs to the annals of the Inquisitions, have transformed and revitalized the field of book history.... A landmark achievement." - San Francisco Chronicle; "Its usefulness to scholars of the history of the book, reading, writing, and print cultures is immense.... Although a different author wrote each of its thirteen chapters, the volume enjoys a wonderful coherence, in large part attributable to the collection's excellent introduction.... Deserves a place in the library of any than thirteen individual and specialized chapters.... Men and women have not always read in the same manner, even if societies from ancient Greece to the present have been societies of the written word, of the written text. A study of their reading practices, and of the textual objects they read, can, the editors of this volume believe, inform the larger transformations western society has undergone." - History of Reading News; "There is no way to encapsulate here the richness of these explorations." - Los Angeles Times Book Review

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Books and other texts have not always been read in the way that we read them today. The modern practice of reading—privately, silently, with the eyes alone—is only one way of reading, which for many centuries existed alongside other forms. In the ancient world, in the Middle Ages, and as late as the seventeenth century, many texts were written for the voice. They were addressed to the ear as much as the eye, and they used forms that were oriented toward the demands of oral performance. This is one of the themes explored in this landmark volume. Written by a distinguished group of international contributors, it analyzes the transformations of reading methods and materials over the ages, showing that revolutions of reading have generally preceded revolutions of the book. The authors examine not only the technical innovations that changed physical aspects of books and other texts, but also the evolving forms of reading and the growth and transformation of the reading public. The volume will be invaluable to students of cultural history and to all those who want a fresh perspective on the history of books and their uses.

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