Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age by Andrew Piper, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age

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

by Andrew Piper
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

The New Republic

"Andrew Piper has written a book about the nineteenth century’s romance with books, looking at the many ways in which the physical character of a book and its illustrations shaped a reader’s avidity. Piper’s scholarly history is fueled by a bookish ardor—you can feel the love that went into his footnotes. This writer’s thinking comes straight out of the long afternoons he must have spent in the library, pulling book after book off the shelves, experiencing the power not only of words but also of bindings, typefaces, and illustrations."—Jed Perl, The New Republic, "The Best Art Books of 2009"

— Jed Perl

The New Republic - Jed Perl
"Andrew Piper has written a book about the nineteenth century’s romance with books, looking at the many ways in which the physical character of a book and its illustrations shaped a reader’s avidity. Piper’s scholarly history is fueled by a bookish ardor—you can feel the love that went into his footnotes. This writer’s thinking comes straight out of the long afternoons he must have spent in the library, pulling book after book off the shelves, experiencing the power not only of words but also of bindings, typefaces, and illustrations."
ACLA, Harry Levin Prize, 2011 runner-up - Harry Levin Prize Citation ACLA
“Beyond its value as a contribution to the broader history of the book, Piper’s relational study of the book aims to reassess today’s pervasive discourse of anxiety about the end of book culture in the digital age, suggesting instead that the book and the computer (along with other media) have existed and will continue to coexist side by side.”

Gramma
“Piper re-evaluates our relationship to the book and widens the scope of what is possible in the Humanities.”
Barbara M. Benedict
“Andrew Piper’s Dreaming in Books opens a new understanding of the history of the book as simultaneously historical and literary. With its scope and meticulous research, it documents the way the technologies of book production become ways to structure culture itself, and shows how the dawn of mass communication made books part of human relationships. Books, we see, sit at the very center of a Romantic culture that extends even into the digital age. This book itself will be of lasting value to scholars of book history, Romanticism, and literary studies.”
Garret Stewart
“Andrew Piper’s sustained interdisciplinary venture in the material and literary culture of print circulation fuses book studies and literary history in an arresting new meld. With the manifold interactions, public and private, of an expanding literacy found rehearsed within one text after another, the Romantic book studies itself. Brought to a provocative focus in the rear-view mirror of electronic textuality and intermedia research, Dreaming in Books, as its double-edged title suggests, illuminates not only the particular mental landscapes released by reading but the social imaginary of bookhood all told. No one working in the crossover field of bibliographic and literary study can afford to ignore Piper’s original approach; no one working in either field separately can fail to learn from it.”

Clifford Siskin
“This is the book that book history itself has been waiting for—a confirmation of that field’s capacity to construct vividly new literary histories. Dreaming in Books takes as its subject not just particular texts or particular practices—though examples of both abound—but an entire environment: the ‘international and overflowing bookish environment’ of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Europe. Romanticism emerges from Andrew Piper’s capacious analyses as more than the sum of its authors, lyrics, and novels. In these pages, it is the period in which the book took on its ‘cosmological identity as something that was everywhere and contained everything.’ Piper provides a natural history of the life form that comes to populate that cosmos—the bibliographic subject—and then concludes with a brilliant meditation on its remediated fate in the present: our own era of ‘translational humanism.’”

David E. Wellbery
“Andrew Piper’s exploration of the bibliographic imaginary deftly interweaves book history, media theory, visual studies, and textual interpretation. His critical voice is at once erudite and enthusiastic, his method both descriptive and allegorical. With remarkable intellectual agility, he moves from the center to the periphery of the canon, from literature (in the inherited sense of the term) to science to scholarship, and from past to present. Under his gaze, dedications, editions, translations, and, especially, the practices surrounding them become the focus of compelling cultural-historical insight. Romanticism emerges here as stranger than we had ever thought and yet surprisingly close to contemporary concerns. A fine achievement.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226103518
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
08/22/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
329,815
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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Meet the Author

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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