Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age

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University of Chicago Press, 2009 - History - 303 pages

At the turn of the nineteenth century, publishing houses in London, New York, Paris, Stuttgart, and Berlin produced books in ever greater numbers. But it was not just the advent of mass printing that created the era’s “bookish” culture. According to Andrew Piper, romantic writing and romantic writers played a crucial role in adjusting readers to this increasingly international and overflowing literary environment. Learning how to use and to want books occurred through more than the technological, commercial, or legal conditions that made the growing proliferation of books possible; the making of such bibliographic fantasies was importantly a product of the symbolic operations contained within books as well.

Examining novels, critical editions, gift books, translations, and illustrated books, as well as the communities who made them, Dreaming in Books tells a wide-ranging story of the book’s identity at the turn of the nineteenth century. In so doing, it shows how many of the most pressing modern communicative concerns are not unique to the digital age but emerged with a particular sense of urgency during the bookish upheavals of the romantic era. In revisiting the book’s rise through the prism of romantic literature, Piper aims to revise our assumptions about romanticism, the medium of the printed book, and, ultimately, the future of the book in our so-called digital age.

 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
ONE Networking
19
TWO Copying
53
THREE Processing
85
FOUR Sharing
121
FIVE Overhearing
153
SIX Adapting
183
IN PLACE OF AN AFTERWORD Next to the Book
235
Notes
247
Index
293
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Andrew Piper teaches German and European literature at McGill University and is the author of Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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