A Book of the Book: Some Works and Projections about the Book & Writing

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"A collection for the general reader and the specialist, A Book of the Book is an accessible and erudite set of readings on the book as a mythic and material object. These texts comprise a vivid exploration of the poetics of the book, a multifaceted study nurtured by the literary and ethnographic scope of its editors' vision, that argues compellingly for the continued survival of this most mundane and metaphoric of artifacts. In a moment when irresponsibly inflammatory ravings about the demise of print rage ...

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Overview

"A collection for the general reader and the specialist, A Book of the Book is an accessible and erudite set of readings on the book as a mythic and material object. These texts comprise a vivid exploration of the poetics of the book, a multifaceted study nurtured by the literary and ethnographic scope of its editors' vision, that argues compellingly for the continued survival of this most mundane and metaphoric of artifacts. In a moment when irresponsibly inflammatory ravings about the demise of print rage through the cultural landscape, this collection offers serious reflection upon the real profundity of the book as a symbolic force within the poetic and spiritual imagination that remains the wellspring of human culture. Drawn from diverse realms-of avant-garde art, anthropology, textual criticism, literature, and speculative thought-this will be the definitive collection for decades to come-a volume whose very physical presence in the hand performs the rhetoric of its pages in offering its riches to the reader." - Johanna Drucker
A Book of the Book is broken down into four sections: "Pre-faces" includes work by Rothenberg, Steve McCaffery, & bp Nichol, Keith A. Smith, Michael Davidson, Anne Waldman, Jacques Derrida, Edmond Jabès (translated by Rosmarie Waldrop), among others; "The Opening of the Field" includes work by Gertrude Stein, William Blake, Susan Howe, Maurice Blanchot, Marjorie Perloff, André Breton and Jerome McGann among others; "The Book is as Old as Fire & Water" includes work on Guruwari designs, novelty books, pattern poetry, celestial alphabets, among others, while "The Book to Come" presents work by Tom Phillips, Johanna Drucker, Alison Knowles, Charles Bernstein, Jess (a complete re-issue of his 1960 work 'O!'), Ian Hamilton Finlay, Barbara Fahrner and many others.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From Blake, Breton, Whitman, Khlebnikov, Blanchot and Duchamp to Artaud, book artist Johanna Drucker and poet-critic Charles Bernstein, this massive collection houses a trove of essays, poems, prose text, illustrations and photographs that ponder just what a book is, isn't or can be. All are provocative. Poet and ethnologist Rothenberg (Technicians of the Sacred) and publisher and book dealer Clay present Derrida writing on Edmond Jab s, examining the differing sources of writing and speech and the role of inscription; critic Richard Sieburth on Mallarm and the latter's contention that the world exists to be in a book; Bernstein proposes language as the technology behind all technologies; and Jorge Luis Borges finds "the cult of books" evidenced in the world's religions. Generous excerpts from Jess Collins's O!, Tom Phillips's A Humument and many non-Western texts make this collection an eyeful, including the spectacular carved fonts in an imaginary language by Xu Bing. And bound into A Book of the Book is a gatefold on glossy stock of a poem by Blaise Cendars, illustrated by Sonia Delaunay. Rothenberg and Clay have intelligently structured their book, allowing the reader to move through the four sections and become increasingly grounded in an understanding of what the book qua book has become over two millennia. Just as wisely, they stay away from reducing this great effort to an appeal for recovering a tradition. (Dec.) Forecast: Every piece here deals in one way or the other with the book as object--whether phenomenological, cultural, historical, technical or aesthetic--at a moment in history when the demise of books as we've come to know them is more than just cocktail-party chatter--it's boardroom chatter. If sought out and handsold, this book could be a hit with any literate reader; it will certainly find its way onto syllabi. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The current image of the book as threatened by invaders from cyberspace has stimulated a new interest in its role in the life of the mind. The book, as object, is a matter of consideration for artists, poets, philosophers, and historians. Editors Rothenberg (Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania) and Clay (A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing 1960-1980) have gathered works from a great body of divergent areas to examine this basic artifact of human culture. The volume includes the textual criticism of Jacques Derrida, the poetry of Walt Whitman, the madness of Adolf Wolfli, Chinese calligraphy, artists' books, and Australian sand drawings. This outstanding collection of writings explores the book in its physical and psychic forms, with its power to transform and translate human experience. It proves that reports of the death of the book have, to paraphrase Twain, been "greatly exaggerated." Recommended for academic collections.--Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781887123280
  • Publisher: Granary Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2000
  • Pages: 580
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 10.38 (h) x 1.38 (d)

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