Memory, Print, And Gender In England, 1653-1759

Overview

This book examines four seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writers concerned with the ways in which the commercial print trade was transforming traditional models of literary authority and immortality. While all were excited by the memorial potential of the printed book, they also betray a profound anxiety about how the new conditions of authorship would effect the transmission of cultural memory, and their ability to participate in and even control that process. This study contributes to the current pursuit—in ...

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Overview

This book examines four seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writers concerned with the ways in which the commercial print trade was transforming traditional models of literary authority and immortality. While all were excited by the memorial potential of the printed book, they also betray a profound anxiety about how the new conditions of authorship would effect the transmission of cultural memory, and their ability to participate in and even control that process. This study contributes to the current pursuit—in both literary studies and the social sciences—of histories of memory in Western culture, employing current scholarship from the social and natural sciences to delineate the nature of modern memory.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Weber has written a deeply absorbing account of the cultural construction of memory. Memory, Print, and Gender in England, 1653-1759 is a major reconsideration of a moment when the cumulative weight of print forged a new, exciting, and disturbing notion of fame. This study will be riveting and essential reading for scholars of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries. Weber's brilliant and beautifully argued readings explore the work of Cavendish, Milton, Pope and Richardson as they negotiated classical notions of fame in a world of proliferating paper and competing versions of history. The book ends with a moving meditation on the technological revolution we are now living through, exploring the shape of memory in its shifting and borderless archive.”—Ann Baynes Coiro, Rutgers University

“In this deceptively elegant book, Weber traces the complex relations among printing, writing, reading, cultural memory, and official history roughly in the middle of the seventeenth-century.  The book begins with four historically focused chapters on individual authors and concludes with a powerful essay on the morality of memory in a post-modernist era, operating in the baleful shadow of the holocaust after which the possibilities of a public and coherent form of memory seemed all but exhausted. Each of Weber’s historical cases reveals a distinct set of attitudes to how the author, by writing, can secure her or his place in the annals of fame, and, over time, how the proliferation of books, and of other written and printed media, forced individual authors into an increasingly elliptical relation to what they most wished to secure for themselves. Highly recommended.”—Richard Kroll, author of The Material Word: Literate Culture in the Restoration and Early Eighteenth Century and Restoration Drama and “The Circle of Commerce”: Tragicomedy, Politics, and Trade in the Seventeenth Century

"Weber's writing is lucid and accessible, and his notes, bibliography, and index are thorough... Recommended." —CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230607910
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Series: Early Modern Cultural Studies Series
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold M. Weber is Professor of English, University of Alabama and the author of The Restoration Rake-Hero: Transformations in Sexual Understanding in Seventeenth-Century England and Paper Bullets: Print and Kingship under Charles II.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Invention of Modern Memory
• “Building Castles in the Air”: Margaret Cavendish and the Anxieties of Monumentality
• “A Space for Narration”: Milton and the Politics of Collective Memory
• “Oh grant an honest Fame, or grant me none!”: The Ethics of Memorialization in Pope’s Archives of Dullness * “Graven with an iron pen and lead in the book forever!”: Paper and Permanence in Richardson’s Clarissa
Conclusion: From the “Garbage Heap” of Memory to the Cyborg: The Exhaustion and Revitalization of Memory in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

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