By Joseph A. Dane
What is a booklet within the research of print tradition? For the student of fabric texts, it isn't just a singular reproduction wearing the original strains of printing and maintenance efforts, or an variation, repeated and repeatable, or a car for ideas to be abstracted from the actual replica. but if the bibliographer situates a publication replica in the tools of ebook heritage, Joseph A. Dane contends, it's the recognized set of assumptions which govern the self-discipline that bibliographic arguments privilege, repeat, or problem. "Book history," he writes, "is us."
In Blind Impressions, Dane reexamines the sphere of fabric e-book background by way of wondering its most simple assumptions and definitions. How is print outlined? What are the boundaries of printing background? What constitutes proof? His concluding part takes shape as a sequence of brief reviews in topic and edition, contemplating such concerns as two-color printing, the composing stick utilized by hand-press printers, the bibliographical prestige of booklet fragments, and the functionality of scholarly representation within the electronic Age. Meticulously targeted, deeply discovered, and infrequently contrarian, Blind Impressions is a bracing critique of ways students outline and clear up problems.
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Extra info for Blind impressions : methods and mythologies in book history
Some sorts were replaced by others; variants, especially capitals, were added; and later on the number of variant sorts, capitals as well as lower case, was reduced by the elimination of those used to begin with. These last may, however, reappear if the compositor happens to be short of a particular letter. (1:18) But this discussion has its own attendant diﬃculties: how could the sorts be replaced gradually unless in the same typecase, and does this imply that a compositor deliberately chose (with each selection) only new sorts, until exhausting each compartment?
To many viewers, scholars of English literature and history in particular, it represents metonymically the most important rare books contained in this collection; but of course, it has nothing to do with those books. The nearly 6,000 incunables, the vast collection of STC books and even ESTC books— all were produced on the wooden machines that were rendered obsolete by this iron press. Print historians assert that this iron press, the one I am looking at with more than a little nostalgia, changes everything, industrializing printing in a way it had never been industrialized before, even though, paradoxically, this particular iron press was used by an ardent foe of industrialization.
Newspapers? Or any of the various encyclopedia projects? Do I count commercial printing only? Or perhaps the distinction between public “Ca. 1800”: What’s in a Date? 47 and private printings cannot really be enforced, any more than it is enforced either for early books or for those produced in modern academic settings. Maybe nineteenth-century bibliographers know the answers to these questions, but I am not sure of that, since I have never to my knowledge exchanged so much as a bibliographical greeting with one.
Blind impressions : methods and mythologies in book history by Joseph A. Dane