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418Philosophy and Literature by depicting five different modes of composition that appear to produce its "careful chaos" (p. 137), a chaos that subtly contains, in the letter of the text, the strongest possible condemnation of the treatment of the Amerindians by the Spanish and, in a brilliant marriage of politics and graphic poetics, a plea for a more humane relation between human beings and nature. This is a deeply original study whose brilliance will be mostly accessible to readers of sixteenth-century French who will marvel at the magical wordplay and learned etymological tours deforce that the author executes on every page. All readers, however, will profit from Conley's ability to find, on pages that scholars have read for ages, new meaning emanating from typographic shapes that, one feels assured after reading his work, must have certainly fascinated French Renaissance literary artists writing in the early years of print culture. Whitman CollegePatrick Henry The Order of Books, by Roger Chartier; xi & 126 pp. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994, $35.00 cloth, $12.95 paper. In three short essays, Chartier studies the methods used to regulate and order the growing number of texts in France during the period that runs from the end of the Middle Ages through the eighteenth century, from early handwritten books to later printed volumes. Always central to his project, however, is the impact of this early modern history of the book on the modern world: the invention of the author, the dream of a universal library (real or imagined), and the new definition of the book that created an indissoluble connection between an object, a text, and an author. Most interestingly, he simultaneously examines the production and regulation of meaning by material forms and the rebellious act of reading that often subverts die strictures imposed on it. "Communities of Readers" concentrates on the text, book, reader triangle, thus bringing together what is often kept separate in academic writing: textual criticism, bibliography, and cultural history. Chartier investigates ways of manipulating textual meaning: fragmentation of an uninterrupted continuous text into concise paragraphs, seen here in the example of dividing the text of the Bible into chapter and verse; and transformation ofone form of publishing to another (shortening texts; providing headings and illustrations), as in the catalogue of the "Bibliothèque bleue." He thereby indicates that the very structure of books was governed by the way publishers thought their target clientele read and depicts the interconnection of sociocultural differentiations and the study offormal and material mechanisms. In addition, he analyzes and Reviews419 questions supposed ways in which meaning changes when the text doesn't change but its mode ofreading does: (A) from oral to silent, (B) from intensive and referential to extensive and less sacred, and (C) from private to collective reading. By glancing cursorily at the aesthetics of reception, New Historicism, the sociology of cultural production (Bourdieu), and the sociology of texts (D. F. McKensie) , "Figures of the Author" begins by ascertaining the conditions upon which the author returns in our postformalist age of criticism. The chapter then turns to the past and engages in a spirited dialogue with Foucault on the author-function and other matters of significance in early modern France. Chartier refuses to reduce the construction of an author-function, "understood as the major criterion for the attribution of texts" (p. 59) , to oversimplified or too univocal formulas. He insists that the author-function predates the modern world and underscores the fact that Foucault himselfrecognizes this for certain classes of texts (scientific but not literary ones) as early as the Middle Ages when texts circulated in manuscripts. Chartier compares definitions of "author " in Furetière's 1690 Dictionnaire universel and Richelet's 1680 Dictionnaire Français where the word now meant one "who has composed some printed book" (p. 40) with late sixteenth-century Bibliothèques by La Croix du Maine and du Verdier where the manuscript made the author as much as the printed book. Chartier does not, however, view the concept of literary property arising from a modern individual property law but rather from the book trade's defense of permissions to print. Once more, he shows convincingly that the author-function had...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 418-420
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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