1-Bib_Book Hist.doc

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St. Michael's College Courses
Lindsey Eckert

September 13, 2011 What is Book History? What is Bibliography? - Bibliography - pertains to one book (falls under book history) - Works cited “bibliography” vs. bibliography - Categorization, organization of books - Bibliography - organization of how the book was printed, how the book was made --> how does that change how we view the book? - Atext’s materiality informs and complicates the was we read and interpret the words inside it - Does it matter which edition/version you read a book? (e.g. first set of editions; on a Kindle vs. cheap paperback) - The book as an object contains information in its physical form - Bibliography - came before book history - B.H. = who printed it, how much it cost = more recent - “What the bibliographer is concerned with is pieces of paper or parchment covered with certain written or printed signs. With these signs he is concerned merely as arbitrary marks; their mean- ing is no business of his.” (W.W. Greg, qtd. in Mackenzie 9) - Extreme example of bibliography - the text, the words don’t matter => rather, how is it made? Traditional Bibliography - In many ways, bibliography is removed from text - What can a book tell us even if we don’t read it? When it’s from (how it’s bound), who it’s written for (children’s etc), what language it’s in… - The cover image presents different impressions about the text, affects how the reader views the book, expects from the book (Wuthering Heights -- e.g. the “Twilight” cover: This is Bella and Edward’s favorite book ⎯ marketing aspect) Bibliography Without Reading - What kind of book is it? (novel, cookbook, reference text, etc.?) - Does this book have pictures? - Is this book expensive? - What kind of person might read this book? - Is this a book for a specialized audience? - You can’t tell a lot from a book by just feeling it -- you can learn a lot about when it was pub- lished (gilt edges), notes in the margins, coffee stains on the book -- you can tell who owned it - Recently the meaning of bibliography has expanded to mean: “The study of books, including their texts (i.e. printed word), materials (physical book), history, production, and distribution; also, an account, list, or description of books or works (like a bibliography/works cited).” (Williams and Abbott 143) - Things happen around the book: who reads it, how much author is paid: affects the text + mate- rial output (how it’s manifested, who it’s marketed to -- type of paper, cost, pictures or not, need footnotes or not) - Social, political, economic factors affect how the book is produced The Sociology of Texts - Authors don’t write books: there is a series of physical processes that lead form author’s idea to the book in the reader’s hand - There are also social forces that affect which book reaches which reader (sometimes the wrong material reaches the wrong audience: i.e. a children’s book reaches an adult) - There are social, human processes: many people with agency making decisions along the way - human interactions go into producing the book - Books are physical objects and social objects - Book ≠ jus
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