A History of the Book in America: Volume 1, The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World

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A History of the Book in America is a five-volume, interdisciplinary series that offers a collborative history of the book in American culture from the earliest days of European settlement to our own days. Its creation is a principal activity of the American Antiquarian Society. Volume 1, The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World is organized around three major themes: the persisting colonial relationship between European settlements and the Old World; the gradual emergence of a pluralistic book trade that differentiated printers from booksellers; and the transition from a "culture of the Word" to the culture of republicanism. The volume also describes nascent forms of literary and learned culture (including the circulation of manuscripts), literacy and censorship, orality, and the efforts by Europeans to introduce written literacy to Native Americans and African Americans.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[V]olume one powerfully and elegantly narrates the history of print, script, and speech in early America. [T]he volume illuminates almost all facets of textual history in early America. Hall's remarkable storytelling skill is certainly literary, and it means that we are in good hands for the next four volumes..." Matthew P. Brown, University of Iowa, Bibliographical Society of America

"One of the strengths of the volume is its plentiful textual artifacts, such as newspaper notices, apprencticeship indentures, catalogues, guidebooks, currency, textbooks, death notices, etc.β€”it's fascinating flipping through and reading just the texts themselves. This is an almost addictive read for anyone even remotely concerned with the history of the production and distribution of books and printed materials." Publisher's Weekly

"It is the most elaborate book publishing project in the history of the American Antiquarian Society, an institution that knows of what it speaks, when it speaks about books, publishing, their history and the implications." Sunday Telegram

"An impressive feat of scholarship by almost any measure." Early American Literature

"The fresh interpretations and the narrative cohesiveness of the various chapters from authorities in the field make this volume an auspicious beginning to what promises to be a landmark work that will shape scholarship on the history of the book in America for decades to come." Libraries and Culture

"This volume is enormous in scope, addressing virtually all facets of the history of the book in North America...Despite the size of the undertaking, Hall and Amory have assembled a complex yet readable and eminent;y useful volume, an essential resource for students and scholars and a benchmark in history of the book studies." South Atlantic Review

"This book is recommended for anyone interested in the history of early American culture or publishing." PA Magazine of History and Bio

"The first of the projected volumes of A History of the Book in America is a masterpiece of scholarship." Tearsheet From William & Mary Quarterly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This vast, dense, scholarly tome, edited by Amory, retired rare book cataloguer at the Houghton library at Harvard University, and Hall, professor of American religious history at Harvard Divinity School, presents a collaborative effort toward an exhaustive history. Thirteen scholars, including historians and library curators, have contributed essays related to the historical definition of "the book" in colonial America (incorporating texts as diverse as manuscripts, almanacs, Bibles and broadsheets) in the 17th and 18th centuries, and to how that definition evolved as the social, economic and political conditions of the country consolidated and solidified into various new configurations. Amory attempts, for instance, to explain how the colonial book was characterized primarily by its growing political and economic independence from London. David Shields describes colonial literary culture in the 18th century as an expansive projection of diverse communities centered on a common language. One of the strengths of the volume is its plentiful textual artifacts, such as newspaper notices, apprenticeship indentures, catalogues, guidebooks, currency, textbooks, death notices, etc.--it's fascinating flipping through and reading just the texts themselves. This is an almost addictive read for anyone even remotely concerned with the history of the production and distribution of books and printed materials. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521482561
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Series: History of the Book in America Series
  • Pages: 662
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.77 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: some contexts and questions: the Europeans' encounter with the Native Americans David D. Hall; 1. Re-inventing the Colonial book Hugh Amory; 2. The Chesapeake in the seventeenth century David D. Hall; 3. Printing and bookselling in New England 1638–1713 Hugh Amory; 4. Readers and writers in seventeenth-century New England David D. Hall; 5. The Atlantic world, Part I. The Atlantic Economy in the Eighteenth Century David D. Hall: Part II. Printers' Supplies and Capitalization John Bidwell: Part III. The Importation of Books in the Eighteenth Century James Raven: Part IV. Note Imports and Domestic Production: Hugh Amory; 6. The book trade in the Middle Colonies, 1680–1720 James N. Green; 7. The Southern book trade in the eighteenth century Calhoun Winton; 8. The book trade in the Middle Colonies in the age of Franklin James N. Green; Part II. The German and Dutch Language Books and Printing: A. Gregg Roeber; 9. The New England Book Trade. 1713–1790 Hugh Amory; 10. Periodicals and politics, Part I. Early American Journalism: news and opinion in the Popular Press Charles E. Clark; Part II. Shifting Freedoms of the Press in the Eighteenth Century Richard D. Brown; 11. Practices of reading: introduction David D. Hall; 1. Literacy and schoolbooks Ross W. Beales and E. Jennifer Monaghan; 2. Customers and the marketplace for books Elizabeth Carroll Reilly and David D. Hall; 12. Learned culture in the eighteenth century David D. Hall; 13. Literary culture in the eighteenth century David Shields.

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