The Book in Britain: A Historical Introduction

Zachary Lesser (Editor), Daniel Allington, David A. Brewer, Stephen Colclough,

WILEY Blackwell


Presented as a comprehensive, up-to-date narrative, The Book in Britain: A Historical Introduction explores the impact of books, manuscripts, and other kinds of material texts on the cultures and societies of the British Isles. The text clearly explains the technicalities of printing and publishing and discusses the formal elements of books and manuscripts, which are necessary to facilitate an understanding of that impact. This collaboratively authored narrative history combines the knowledge and expertise of five scholars who seek to answer questions such as: How does the material form of a text affect its meaning? How do books shape political and religious movements? How have the economics of the book trade and copyright shaped the literary canon? Who has been included in and excluded from the world of books, and why?

The Book in Britain: A Historical Introduction will appeal to all scholars, students, and historians interested in the written word and its continued production and presentation.

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About the Editors

Daniel Allington is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College, London. Widely published on readership and digital media issues, he co-edited Communicating in English: Talk, Text, Technology.

David A. Brewer is Associate Professor of English at The Ohio State University, where he teaches book history and eighteenth-century literature. He is the author of The Afterlife of Character, 1726–1825, and was part of the Multigraph Collective that wrote Interacting with Print: Elements of Reading in the Era of Print Saturation.

Stephen Colclough (1969–2015) was Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Bangor University, a renowned scholar of Victorian literature and culture, and the author of Consuming Texts: Readers and Reading Communities, 1695–1870. He founded The Bangor Centre for the History of the Book, which has since been renamed in his honor.

Zachary Lesser is Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a general editor of The Arden Shakespeare Fourth Series, and the author of the award-winning books Renaissance Drama and the Politics of Publication and Hamlet After Q1: An Uncanny History of the Shakespearean Text.

Siân Echard

Siân Echard is Professor of English specializing in Middle English literature, the Arthurian tradition, medievalism, and book history. She is the author of Printing the Middle Ages and Arthurian Narrative in the Latin Tradition, and a general editor of The Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain.  


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