The Myth of Print Culture: Essays on Evidence, Textuality and Bibliographical Method

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University of Toronto Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 242 pages
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The Myth of Print Culture is a critique of bibliographical and editorial method, focusing on the disparity between levels of material evidence (unique and singular) and levels of text (abstract and reproducible). It demonstrates how the particulars of evidence are manipulated in standard scholarly arguments by the higher levels of textuality they are intended to support.

The individual studies in the book focus on a range of problems: basic definitions of what a book is; statistical assumptions; and editorial methods used to define and collate the presumably basic unit of 'variant.' This work differs from other recent studies in print culture in its emphasis on fifteenth-century books and its insistence that the problems encountered in that historical milieu (problems as basic as cataloguing errors) are the same as problems encountered in other areas of literary criticism. The difficulties in the simplest of cataloguing decisions, argues Joseph Dane, tend to repeat themselves at all levels of bibliographical, editorial, and literary history.

  

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Contents

The Myth of Print Culture
10
Twenty Million Incunables Cant Be Wrong
32
What Is a Book? Classification and Representation
57
The Notion of Variant and the Zen of Collation
88
Two Studies in Chaucer Editing
114
Editorial Variants
143
Bibliographical Myths and Methods
170
Conclusion
191
Principal Works Cited
229
Index
237
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Joseph A. Dane is a professor of English at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

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