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Blind Impressions
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What is a book in the study of print culture? For the scholar of material texts, it is not only a singular copy carrying the unique traces of printing and preservation efforts, or an edition, repeated and repeatable, or a vehicle for ideas to be abstracted from the physical copy. But when the bibliographer situates a book copy within the methods of book history, Joseph A. Dane contends, it is the known set of assumptions which govern the discipline that bibliographic arguments privilege, repeat, or challenge. "Book history," he writes, "is us."

In Blind Impressions, Dane reexamines the field of material book history by questioning its most basic assumptions and definitions. How is print defined? What are the limits of printing history? What constitutes evidence? His concluding section takes form as a series of short studies in theme and variation, considering such matters as two-color printing, the composing stick used by hand-press printers, the bibliographical status of book fragments, and the function of scholarly illustration in the Digital Age. Meticulously detailed, deeply learned, and often contrarian, Blind Impressions is a bracing critique of the way scholars define and solve problems.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. Part I. What is Print?
  2. pp. 9-10
  1. Chapter 1. Paleography Versus Typography
  2. pp. 11-36
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  1. Chapter 2. "Ca. 1800": What's in a Date?
  2. pp. 37-57
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  1. Chapter 3. Bibliographers of the Mind
  2. pp. 58-72
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  1. Part II. On The Making of Lists
  2. pp. 73-74
  1. Chapter 4. Herman R. Mead's Incunabula in the Huntington Library and the Notion of "Typographical Value"
  2. pp. 75-91
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  1. Chapter 5. Catchtitles in English Books to 1550
  2. pp. 92-105
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  1. Chapter 6. An Editorial Propaedeutic
  2. pp. 106-124
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  1. Part III. Ironies of History and Representation: Theme and Variation
  2. pp. 125-126
  1. Playing Bibliography
  2. pp. 127-129
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  1. III.1. Book History and Book Histories: On the Making of Lists
  2. pp. 130-138
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  1. III.2. Meditation on the Composing Stick
  2. pp. 139-148
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  1. III.3. The Red and the Black
  2. pp. 149-155
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  1. III.4. Fragments
  2. pp. 156-164
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  1. III.5. The Nature and Function of Scholarly Illustration in a Digital World
  2. pp. 165-173
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  1. III.6. Art of the Mind
  2. pp. 174-182
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 183-208
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  1. Principal Sources
  2. pp. 209-214
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 215-218
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 219-228
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