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British Literature and Print Culture

British Literature and Print Culture

Edited by Sandro Jung
Volume: 66
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    British Literature and Print Culture
    Book Description:

    The essays collected here offer examinations of bibliographical matters, publishing practices, the illustration of texts in a variety of engraved media, little studied print culture genres, the critical and editorial fortunes of individual works, and the significance of the complex interrelationships that authors entertained with booksellers, publishers, and designers. They investigate how all these relationships affected the production of print commodities and how all the agents involved in the making of books contributed to the cultural literacy of readers and the formation of a canon of literary texts. Specific topics include a bibliographical study of Aphra Behn's 'Oroonoko' and its editions from its first publication to the present day; the illustrations of John Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress' and the ways in which the interpretive matrices of book illustration conditioned the afterlife and reception of Bunyan's work; the almanac and the subscription edition; publishing history, collecting, reading, and textual editing, especially of Robert Burns's poems and James Thomson's 'The Seasons'; the "printing for the author" practice; the illustrated and material existence of Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels, and the Victorian periodical, 'The Athenaeum'. Sandro Jung is Research Professor of Early Modern British Literature and Director of the Centre for the Study of Text and Print Culture at Ghent University. Contributors: Gerard Carruthers, Nathalie Collé-Bak, Marysa Demoor, Alan Downie, Peter Garside, Sandro Jung, Brian Maidment, Laura L. Runge.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-199-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    Print-culture studies is a burgeoning field: it is actively fostered by bibliographical societies worldwide; centres for the study of the history of the book and material text have been founded, and several specialist book series on print culture have produced excellent contributions to the field. These series continuously demonstrate the need to revisit existing histories of print and to include alternative narratives that reveal hitherto neglected, often ephemeral print cultures. It is the recovery of these lesser-known print cultures that is essential for the mapping of cultural production in different knowledge economies and a better understanding of the role that...

  6. Tracing a Genealogy of Oroonoko Editions
    (pp. 5-32)

    On the title page of the fifth edition of Aphra Behn’s collected novels (1705), someone added the tag ‘Corrected from the many Errors of former Impressions’. Whether the phrase was inspired by a sense of pride in work well done or, more likely, a desire to advertise the book’s superiority, it advises the modern reader of a number of important things. First, it tells us that the 1705 edition succeeds a number of previous editions, informing us that Behn’s novels have a history, a textual history that involves errors. The language refers to the physical action of the hand-press, and...

  7. The Pilgrim’s Progress, Print Culture and the Dissenting Tradition
    (pp. 33-57)

    In The what-d’ye-call-it: a tragi-comi-pastoral farce (1715), English poet and dramatist John Gay satirised the popularity of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 1, 1678; Part 2, 1684) in a scene where a condemned sinner is offered a prayer book and urged to make use of it:

    COUNTRYMAN:—Repent thine ill,

    And Pray in this good Book.— [Gives him a Book.

    PEASCOD:—I will! I will!

    Lend me thy Handkercher— The Pilgrim’s Pro

    [Reads and weeps.

    (I cannot see for Tears) ProProgress—Oh!

    The Pilgrim’s Progress—Eighth---Edi—ti—on,

    Lon--don--Print--ed--for--Ni--cho--las Bod--ding--ton:

    With new Ad--di--tions never made...

  8. Printing for the Author in the Long Eighteenth Century
    (pp. 58-77)
    J. A. DOWNIE

    Not so very long ago, critics and historians were maintaining with increasing confidence that the system of patronage which had operated time out of mind was superseded in the later seventeenth century by a new relationship between author and publisher. It is likely that the publication in 1989 of the English translation of Jürgen Habermas’s hugely influential The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (first published in German in 1962) contributed to this new-found confidence. Certainly, the awesome assurance with which Habermas articulated the thesis that a ‘bourgeois public sphere’ first emerged in Britain ‘at the turn of the eighteenth...

  9. Robert Burns’s Interleaved Scots Musical Museum: A Case-Study in the Vagaries of Editors and Owners
    (pp. 78-96)

    As much as any scholar could wish, the authorship of Robert Burns (1759–96) presents problems in textual editing and book history: uncertain attributions, bibliographical conundrums, egregious editorial interference and lost manuscripts to say nothing of a large dose of fraudulence and forgery. Providing a complete edition of Burns’s works across poetry, prose and song, to consistently high standards of editorial practice and archival retrieval, has only recently begun, more than 250 years after the writer’s birth.¹ That editorial project is examining materials that have remained surprisingly occlusive, manuscripts and books that would (one cannot help feeling) have been pored...

  10. Packaging, Design and Colour: From Fine-Printed to Small-Format Editions of Thomson’s The Seasons, 1793–1802
    (pp. 97-124)

    Like no other text in the eighteenth century, James Thomson’s The Seasons demonstrates the socio-economic importance of what James Raven has discussed in terms of product design: booksellers realised that ‘tailoring products to a particular clientele, experimenting in the design and packaging of products, and presenting these, as well as wider publishing activities, as fashionable’ contributed materially to increased sales.¹ At the same time, following the lapse of perpetual copyright, which the pirated reprinting in Scotland of The Seasons had indirectly brought about, a market for the reprinting of works previously controlled by the monopolies of individual booksellers emerged. This...

  11. Plates
    (pp. None)
  12. Print Illustrations and the Cultural Materialism of Scott’s Waverley Novels
    (pp. 125-157)

    The extensive influence of scott’s fiction on art in the nineteenth century has long been a subject of commentary, while a parallel, if less developed, line of enquiry has examined the symbiosis between text and illustrative material in the production of collected sets of the Waverley novels. Until recently, however, general analysis has largely concentrated on exhibition painting, quantifiable as it is from sources such as the catalogues of the Royal Academy and British Institution. Catherine Gordon thus points to the exhibition by over three hundred painters and sculptors of more than a thousand Scott-related works between 1805 and 1870,...

  13. Beyond Usefulness and Ephemerality: The Discursive Almanac, 1828–60
    (pp. 158-194)

    The presence of the almanac in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century households from right across the social scale has long been noted by historians of print culture. Characterised as publications within the important category of ‘pocket usefulness’ by James Raven,¹ almanacs were a vital source of information within an agricultural society. If the almanac was not always to be found in the pocket, then it may have moved no further than the table – ‘Of all books the Almanack is the most indispensable. So constant is the need for it that, unlike other books, it is not deposited on the shelf, but lies...

  14. The Last Years of a Victorian Monument: The Athenaeum after Maccoll
    (pp. 195-212)

    Question: how did a nineteenth-century dinosaur publication like the Athenaeum (1828–1921) prepare for the twentieth century? Answer: it appointed a new editor. This essay aims to look at the print legacy of this new editor, Vernon Horace Rendall (1869–1960), who in spite of the enormity of the task loaded onto his shoulders, has remained an unknown entity in print-culture history.¹ As was often the case it was through the columns of the Athenaeum that the change of captain was announced:

    Mr Maccoll, who will on the 1st of next January have been the chief editor of the Athenaeum...

  15. Index
    (pp. 213-222)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 223-223)