It’s not just about the printing press! The history of the book presents us with a complete, observable communications revolution. The historical record allows us to examine the whole of a vast socio-cultural, political, and economic change over a period of some three to five hundred years (depending on whose perspective you prefer). By following the developments in manuscript and print book production, tied to the changes in the technologies used to produce those texts, we can also chart the various changes in social organization, politics and economics.
“Can books only exist in the paper-printed media? Can the text be separated from paper to be reused as a book through digital media? Is such a discussion relevant to the subject of books?”
Some key ideas to consider:
- the history of the book
- the end of books (!?)
- the net_reading/writing_condition
- What are some current views about the emergence and diffusion of media?
Was There a Reading Revolution in the New American Republic?
Professor Robert Gross explores the history and historiography of book history and reading in pre Civil War America. This lecture was originally given at the University of Toronto in the fall of 2008.