Re-Constructing the Book

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This important and innovative collection deals with issues raised by the study of writing, publishing and reading in relation to literary criticism, and provides a much-needed overview of the current state of textual studies. The volume brings together in dialogue scholars of several fields - bibliography, textual editing, publishing history and literary criticism - to exemplify, explore and encourage a practice of literary criticism which takes into account the context of the transmission of the literary text. Reconstructing the Book offers an informed study of some of the processes by which a literary text reaches its readers; it gives a straightforward presentation of the issues in publishing history that arise in particular periods of post-medieval English literature, and seeks to integrate publishing history with critical readings of texts in discerning and thought-provoking ways. Between them, the seventeen essays (in literary criticism, textual studies and publishing history) encompass the following periods: the Renaissance, Restoration, Eighteenth century, Romantics, Victorian, Modern, and Contemporary British and Postcolonial. Maureen Bell provides an introduction that further explores the connections among the essays in each period of study. The volume fills a substantial gap in current approaches to literature by addressing new trends in literary criticism. The collection will be of interest not only to researchers, students and teachers of the distinct periods of literature it covers, but also to those engaged in researching the theory of textual transmission and the sociology of texts.
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Editorial Reviews

Elisabeth Leedham-Green
Experts in the field will welcome unreservedly this fine collection of essays by a distinguished group of scholars containing as it does studies of texts ranging from the 17th century to the present day and topics ranging from censorship to editorial practice ... the chronological and methodological span of the volume, and the thoughtful provision of separate bibliographies for each essay, make this not only a superbly inspiring, but also an immensely convenient tool for the introduction of students to the burgeoning field of book history in its many guises ...
George Bornstein
This state-of-the-art collection will interest all students of book history, material textuality, and the sociology of the text. Ranging from Shakespeare to cyberspace, these essays by such leading scholars as James West, Hermione Lee, the late D. F. McKenzie, and Christopher Ricks open fascinating perspectives on literary construction from the Renaissance to the present.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780754603603
  • Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Limited
  • Publication date: 6/1/2001
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
1 Introduction: The Material Texts 1
2 Why has Q4 Romeo and Juliet Such an Intelligent Editor? 9
3 Marvell's Coy Mistresses 22
4 Congreve and the Integrity of the Text 34
5 The Economics of the Eighteenth-Century Provincial Book Trade: The Case of Ward and Chandler 42
6 Thomas Gray, David Hume and John Home's Douglas 57
7 Texts in Conversation: Coleridge's Sonnets from Various Authors (1796) 71
8 Reading the Brontes Abroad: A Study in the Transmission of Victorian Novels in Continental Europe 84
9 Sir Walter, Sex and the SoA 100
10 Making (Pre-) History: Mycenae, Pausanias, Frazer 112
11 Editing Private Papers: There Examples from Dreiser 124
12 Coercive Suggestion: Rhetoric and Community in Revaluation 137
13 Re-reading Elizabeth Bowen 148
14 'Drastic Reductions': Partial Disclosures and Displaced Authorities in Muriel Sparks' The Driver's Seat 158
15 'Not Undesirable': J. M. Coetzee and the Burdens of Censorship 170
16 Prospero in Cyberspace 184
17 Texts and Worlds in Amitav Ghosh's In An Antique Land 197
18 Congratulations 210
Index 224
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