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 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.

Product Details

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

About 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.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations

Introduction / Bibliographic Subjects

“Hypothesis: All is Leaf”    

Books: Past, Present, and Future   

Is Literary History Book History?    

Bibliographic Romanticism    

Romanticizing Books  

One / Networking

Fortresses of the Spirit    

Rethinking the Book of Everything   

The Novel as Network: J.W. Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Travels   

The Problem of the Where   

The Ladies’ Pocket-Book and the Excerpt    

The Ausgabe letzter Hand and a Poetics of the Version    

Cartography and the Novel   

The Anatomy of the Book: The Work of Art as Technological Präparat   

Coda: Faust and the Future  

Two / Copying

Making Classics   

The Combinatory Spirit and the Collected Edition   

Producing Corporeal Integrity (Wieland, Byron, Rousseau)   

Reprinting, Reproducibility, and the Novella Collection   

E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Serapion Brothers and the Crisis of Originality    

“The Uncanny Guest” and the Poetics of the Same   

The Plot of the Returning Husband   

The Magnetic Doppelgänger   

The Whisper, Noise, and the Acoustics of Relocatability   

The Collectivity of the Copy   


Three / Processing

Printing the Past (Intermediality and the Book I)   

The Editor’s Rise and Fall   

Immaculate Reception: From Erneuung to Critical Edition (Tieck, Hagen, Lachmann)   

Walter Scott, the Ballad, and the Book   

The Borders of Books: Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border    

Narrating Editing: The Historical Novel and Tales of My Landlord   

“By Heart” v. “From the Heart” in The Heart of Mid-Lothian   

Producing Singularity  

Four / Sharing

Assorted Books: The Romantic Miscellany (Almanacs, Taschenbücher, Gift-Books)   

Common Right v. Copyright   

Book-Keeping and the Inscription (Intermediality and the Book II)   

Hollow Texts, Textual Hollows   

The Problem of the “Of”: Washington Irving’s “An Unwritten Drama of Lord Byron”   

Sharing Sharing: Poe, Hawthorne, and Mrs. Chamberlain’s “Jottings from an Old Journal”  

Five / Overhearing

The Problem of Open Source   

“Le commerce intellectuel”   

Women, Translation, Transnation   

Overheard in Translation: Sophie Mereau’s La Princesse de Clèves and the Loose Confession   

María de Zayas’s Novelas Amorosas y Ejemplares and the Betrayal of Writing   

Boccaccio, Privacy, and Partiality: Fiammetta and Decameron 10.3  

Six / Adapting

Romantic Lines: Illustrated Books (Intermediality and the Book III)   

Afterimages: Goethe and the Lily   

Stems, Spirals, and the New Scientific Graphics    

Overwriting: Balzac between Script and Scribble   

Parallels, or Stendhal and the Line of the Self   

Coda: Sebald’s Bibliographic Vanishing Points  

In Place of an Afterword / Next to the Book


Book Was There, It Was There   

Besides: Towards a Translational Humanism   

Beckett’s “Eff”  



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