Blind impressions : methods and mythologies in book history

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  1. Joseph Dane
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Joseph Dane

A handbook to the reception of classical mythology Erdman , Ranko Matasovic. African Mythology A to Z, 2nd Edition African Tales By Neubert , Ruttinger.


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  7. Blind Impressions: Methods and Mythologies in Book History.

Aithihyamala By Alan E. Nourse , Ann Byers , Kottarathil Sankunni. Howard , Pavel , Rupert Matthews.

Can mythology teach us history?

Ancient India By a cura di Luigi M. Lombardi Satriani e Letizia Bindi. Devine , Gedaliahu A. Fifteenth-century printers used a variety of individual letters, joined letters, abbreviations, etc. So 19th-century bibliographers pictured what they imagined to be contained in the type case with what I call an array, which was simply a representation of each of those letters. This seems simple enough — the problem I point out is that there is an obvious difference, say, between two r-forms one looks like a modern printed r, the other like a modern 2.

You use these in different contexts following o, for example, you always typeset, or should typeset, the 2-form.


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  • In fact, those arrays are highly mediated by assumptions not always stated of those who constructed them. Because of my training and interests books printed before the development of, say, the Stanhope iron press, stereotyping, linotype, etc. I see it as a physical object, one that contains evidence what kind?

    When I look at a book printed after , I look at it the same way I look at a book in a bookstore — who wrote it? In other words, all things being equal, I see right through the material object to the written text it contains. I believe I was talking about the way books printed before are catalogued in large union catalogues as opposed to those printed after Because of the sheer and almost unimaginable numbers, it is no longer possible to include in a catalogue of 19th-century printed materials all of the ephemeral printed materials broadsheets, indulgences that are generally not always included in earlier catalogues.

    I attribute that to the rank hyperbolist in me. The invention of different processes stereotyping , different types of presses, changes fundamentally the way books are made. The main reason for the metaphor is 2 the way scholars internalize this date, and now use it as a demarcation between two often discontinuous histories: there is classic printing prior to , and modern printing stereotype, monotype, linotype, and now, I suppose, even e-books.

    Joseph A. Dane

    It is noteworthy that nineteenth-century book historians and bibliographers did not see the changes around this date as causing any fundamental change in what they did, or how they thought about books. But in most contexts, scholars should distinguish them more closely — you can study your copy of the First Folio all you want, but you must realize that this is only one of many copies, and until you examine others, and determine how they relate to each other, you know very little about The First Folio.

    It is of course just one example perhaps for the book historian and bibliographer the most important one of the fundamental problem in scholarship — the relation between, say, material evidence and the grand abstract narratives we construct about this evidence. Definitions vary, but I would think bibliographers would say analytical bibliography involves the study of material books as evidence of the processes used to create those things at press.

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    Analytical bibliography, then, is the reconstruction of the historical events and conventions at a press that brought about a particular book. It is unfortunately used a lot more loosely than that as if it involved any analysis of a material book, for whatever reason. This term is used of Anglo-American bibliographers in the twentieth century such as W.

    Presumably, their methods were more scientific, analytical than those of their dilettantish predecessors. Of course this is not really a fair description — German bibliographers of the late nineteenth century Karl Dziaztko and Paul Schwenke are important examples had developed most of the methods and identified most of the problems associated with them.

    The analysis of paper also was much more sophisticated in the mid-nineteenth century than it was in these scholars, who were more interested in matters of typography and book structure, and often ignored paper evidence entirely. We all know what a catchword is: the word generally at the end of a page that repeats the first word of the following page. These can be used at the ends of pages; in the medieval manuscript, they were often used at the end of a quire, to help the binder keep the quires organized correctly.

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    A catchtitle is much different, and confined to printed books. These are abbreviated forms of the title of the book that appear on each quire maybe on the first page, maybe on the first and third, maybe on all pages ; they refer not to that quire they are not like signature marks: e. Thus, a printer might find a loose sheet lying about with the quire mark B … OK. That sheet is part of quire B.

    But of what work? The catchtitle gives that information. They are thus of some use in the printing shop, which may be printing various projects at once. Share full text access.

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    Volume 28 , Issue 3 June Pages Related Information.