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What are we studying when we study “History of the book” or “Future of the book”?
Question: What does “the book” mean to us, to our society and culture, to our texts and our literature?
We assume that when we pick up a book by a specific author, that author wrote it
We assume certain books contain knowledge
We assume the edition is the edition
1. The whole Scripture, or some part of it, written together in one Volume, Rev. 22. 18. The
book of this prophesie. Luk. 4. 17. He took the book. The Book of Scriptures, Psal. 40. 7.
2. The rehearsal of ones pedegree, or off-spring. Mat. 1. 1. The book of the generation, &c.
3. Every mans conscience or knowledge that he hath of his own doings, good or evil. Rev. 20. 12.
Then the Books shall he opened. Book of conscience.
4. Gods providence, or his fore-appointment of all things. Psal. 139. 6.
For in thy Book were all things written. Book of providence" (Thomas Wilson, A Complete
Christian Dictionary, 1661).
"either numerous sheets of white paper that have been stitched together in such a way that they
can be filled with writing; or, a highly useful and convenient instrument constructed of printed
sheets variously bound in cardboard, paper, vellum, leather, etc. for presenting the truth to
another in such a way that it can be conveniently read and recognized"
(Georg Heinrich Zinck, Allgemeines Oeconomisches Lexicon, 1753).
"[boc, Sax., supposed from boc, a beech; because they wrote on beechen boards, as liber in
Latin, from the rind of a tree.]
1. A volume in which we read or write. ...2.
2. A particular part of a work. ...
3. 3. The register in which a trader keeps account of his debts"
4. (Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, 1755–6).
"more than a verbal structure, or a series of verbal structures; a book is a dialogue with the
reader, and the peculiar accent he gives to its voice, and the changing and durable images it
leaves in his memory. That dialogue is infinite. ...Literature is not exhaustible, for the sufficient English 204 2
and simple reason that a single book is not. A book is not an isolated entity; it is a narration, an
axis of innumerable narrations" (Jorge Luis Borges, Other Inquisitions, 1937–1952, 163–4).
Intertextuality: if you were reading a particular book that makes reference to another book.
- An example would be a short story that makes reference to the bible.