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Ways of Writing: The Practice and Politics of Text-Making in Seventeenth-Century New England

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"Every colonial writer knew of two different modes of publication, each with its distinctive benefits and limitations. One was to entrust a manuscript to a printer who would set type and impose it on sheets of paper that were bound up into a book. The other was to make handwritten copies or have others make copies, possibly unauthorized. Among the colonists, the terms "publishing" and "book" referred to both of these technologies. Ways of Writing is about the making of texts in the seventeenth century, whether they were fashioned into printed
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Ways of Writing: The Practice and Politics of Text-Making in Seventeenth-Century New England

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Overview

"Every colonial writer knew of two different modes of publication, each with its distinctive benefits and limitations. One was to entrust a manuscript to a printer who would set type and impose it on sheets of paper that were bound up into a book. The other was to make handwritten copies or have others make copies, possibly unauthorized. Among the colonists, the terms "publishing" and "book" referred to both of these technologies. Ways of Writing is about the making of texts in the seventeenth century, whether they were fashioned into printed books or circulated in handwritten form." Examining printed texts as well as those that were handwritten, David D. Hall explores the practices associated with anonymity, dedications, prefaces, errata, and the like. He also surveys the meaning of authority and authenticity, demonstrating how so many texts were prepared by intermediaries, not by authors, thus contributing to the history of "social" or collaborative authorship. Finally, he considers the political contexts that affected the transmission and publication of many texts, revealing that a space for dissent and criticism was already present in the colonies by the 1640s, a space exploited mainly by scribally published texts.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Hall demonstrates] how many well-worn topics stand to be transformed when literature is imagined as a series of practices and books are engaged as material objects. . . . For students of book history and of early New England, Ways of Writing . . . can and should have profound effects on scholarly ways of thinking."—Church History

"Hall's work . . . complicates and refines our notions of the significance of the individual author and his/her originality in making texts during this period as well as the significance we assign the practices of anonymity. . . . [A] richly detailed and engagingly written study."—American Historical Review

"Hall's historical research changes our understanding of what a text is as well as the historical reality we can infer from any example of colonial writing. . . . [He] has given scholars of early American literature a great deal of new work to do."—American Literature

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812241020
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2008
  • Series: Material Texts Series
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David D. Hall is Bartlett Research Professor of New England Church History at Harvard Divinity School. He is author of several books and editor of Bibliography and the Book Trades: Studies in the Print Culture of Early New England by Hugh Amory, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1. Contingencies of Authorship: The Protestant Vernacular Tradition, the Book Trades, and Technologies of Production
Ch. 2. Not in Print yet Published: The Practice of Scribal Publication
Ch. 3. Social Authorship and the Making of Printed Texts
Ch. 4. Textures of Social Authorship: Case Studies
Ch. 5. Between Unity and Sedition: The Practice of Dissent

List of Abbreviations Notes Index

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