History of the book, first readings
Darnton and Chartier, mainly focus on 18th C; De Certeau a more recent view of reading. Items marked * are for information only (i.e., optional readings).
Darnton, "What Is the History of Books?" BHR, 9
Emergence of book history; case study of Rigaud, bookseller of Montpellier; headings for research: Authors; Publishers; Printers; Shippers; Booksellers; Readers. Interdisciplinarity needed.
Darnton, "First Steps Toward a History of Reading," in online Readings
Readers in history: "our relation to those texts cannot be the same as that of readers in the past" (155); readers of Rousseau's La Nouvelle Héloïse; reading was more closely related to life then; reading "fever" of 18th C; problems of studying history of reading; reading clubs; issues for research
*Darnton, "Readers Respond to Rousseau: The Fabrication of Romantic Sensitivity." The Great Cat Massacre (2001), pp. 215-256.
For a detailed study of readers of Rousseau's La Nouvelle Héloïse. Intensive reading; Rousseau's correspondence with readers: "They wanted to tell him how they identified with his characters, how they, too, had loved, sinned, suffered, and resolved to be virtuous again in the midst of a wicked and uncomprehending world" (246)
*Darnton, Robert, "Histoire du Livre. Geschichte des Buchwesens. An Agenda for Comparative History." Publishing History, 22 (1987): 33-41.
headings: Piracy; Trade patterns; Trading techniques; Finance; Literary property; Payments to authors; Subscriptions; Censorship; Reading societies; Popular literature; General patterns of book production; Reading habits; Sociology of consumption; Roles and functions in the communications circuit
Chartier, Roger, "Labourers and Voyagers" BHR, 87 (1992)
Indeterminacy of reading; transformative effects of reading; misleading emphasis on class; reading practices that have disappeared; material basis of book; influence of differences in book quality; three "revolutions" in reading history; measuring reading in history; inventiveness of readers
Certeau, Michel De, "Reading as Poaching" (original publication 1974) in online Readings
Influence of the media, the academy; consumption model of reading; reading active not passive; interpretive monopoly of critics; transgressive acts of real readers; withdrawal of the body in reading.
Some differences, thinking of Darnton essay, BHR, 9, then/ now
Power of the book
Censorship, illegal importation, etc.
Patronage of authors, subscription
Rise of the novel
Consumerism, mass production
Other media (photography, film, radio, TV, internet; newspapers, journals)
Modern printing methods, binding
Cost of printing and binding
Limited circulation of books, then / Amazon
Stratification by class, editions (penny dreadfuls, etc.)
Book clubs, reading groups; middle / working class
Disposable income for books
Document created September 19th 2006 / updated January 31st 2011