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university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 4, fall 2004 S A R A H B R O U I L L E T T E A N D T R A V I S D E C O O K Introduction Book history and print culture studies have recently been high on the agenda in a wide variety of disciplines. A developing academic field, also variously called ‘the history of books,’ ‘the history of texts,’ or ‘textual studies,’ it involves literary scholars, sociologists, librarians, bibliographers, historians, and others in discussions about the historical circumstances of literary production, transmission, and reception, examining those who wrote and read, as well as those who produced, distributed, and sold various print and manuscript materials. The phrase ‘book history’ evokes a venerable field with its own lengthy history of close attention to the material book, while ‘print culture’ studies is a newer designation, encompassing a range of interdisciplinary theories and methodologies, reliant on the insights of cultural and media studies, theories of representation, the sociology of communities and group formation, and literary criticism. Recent activity at the University of Toronto exemplifies the growing interest in the field. Toronto has become an important centre for new research and collaboration, as evidenced by the founding of the collaborative program in Book History and Print Culture (BHPC) in 2000, the involvement of numerous researchers and institutional resources with the History of the Book in Canada/Histoire du livre et de l’imprimé au Canada (HBIC), and the University of Toronto Press’s introduction of a new series, Studies in Book and Print Culture. Organized by a group of graduate students involved with the BHPC program, the October 2002 ‘New Scholarship in Book History and Print Culture’ conference, at which the papers presented here were first delivered, is further evidence of the University of Toronto’s new engagement in the field. It aimed to redress a perceived lack in the structures of communication and exchange available to the new scholars currently working in this interdisciplinary area. The papers published here are a testament to this emerging field’s diversity of disciplinary approaches and historical and geographical subjects and reflect the conference’s aim to foster dialogue across boundaries. Despite their different subjects and perspectives, they address a network of concerns that can be clustered around a few key topics. One area of concern is the way ideas about authorship develop in response to technological change in general, and are influenced by processes of 942 sarah brouillette and travis de cook university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 4, fall 2004 marketing and promotion that attempt to construct audiences for a given text (Kathy Cawsey, Yuri Cowan, Gregory Mackie). Another is the history of specific technologies of book or magazine production (Haven Hawley) and the way those technologies, whether manuscript or print, respond to and influence social and cultural milieus (Dylan Reid, Will Straw, Jane Falk, Matt Johnston). Several papers presented here discuss how concepts of authorship are situated within changing circumstances of textual production. For example, in ‘“Alum de glas” or “Alymed glas”’? Manuscript Reading in Book III of The House of Fame,’ Kathy Cawsey explores how Geoffrey Chaucer figures the threats to authorial fame and textual survival in terms of his manuscript culture. Cawsey focuses her discussion on an image of an ice mountain, on which are written authors’ names, partially sheltered by the House of Fame and partially exposed to the sun and therefore disappearing. This image, Cawsey contends, exemplifies the idea that textual survival is not necessarily a product of fame, since manuscripts consulted frequently (i.e., exposed to the sun) become corrupted or lost. She concludes that the later celebrators of Chaucer’s reputation, by contrast, represented his texts as imperishable. Cawsey understands this to be a result of the emergence of print, whereby the increased number of texts alleviated the threat of fading literary fame lamented by Chaucer. Gregory Mackie traces the way an author’s image and reputation influenced the way his works could be treated within the publishing industry in the late nineteenth century. After his 1895 trial and imprisonment, Oscar Wilde’s copyright was somehow ‘clouded’ by his loss of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 941-946
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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