This book was collectively written by a group of scholars assembled through the Interacting with Print research group, which I led from 2008-2013. The book represents the major output of that phase of the research group’s life.
A thorough rethinking of a field deserves to take a shape that is in itself new. Interacting with Print delivers on this premise, reworking the history of print through a unique effort in authorial collaboration. The book itself is not a typical monograph—rather, it is a “multigraph,” the collective work of twenty-two scholars who together have assembled an alphabetically arranged tour of key concepts for the study of print culture, from Anthologies and Binding to Publicity and Taste.
Each entry builds on its term in order to resituate print and book history within a broader media ecology throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The central theme is interactivity, in three senses: people interacting with print; print interacting with the non-print media that it has long been thought, erroneously, to have displaced; and people interacting with each other through print. The resulting book will introduce new energy to the field of print studies and lead to considerable new avenues of investigation.
Deidre Lynch, Harvard University
“Interacting with Print reminds us of print’s capacity to disrupt as well as produce forms of allegiance—to be an agent of instability as well as of standardization. The essays comprising this book are separately and together a pleasure to read. They are also unfailingly edifying. Collectively, the authors propose a new and persuasive account of how readers and viewers did things with print artifacts, both textual and visual, and the emphasis on interaction and intermediality that links these chapters complicates, to wonderful effect, prior works of book and cultural history.”
Ann M. Blair, Harvard University
“In focusing on a memorable set of keywords, the authors in this interdisciplinary collective have blended their voices—and their many areas of expertise—to offer an array of inspiring new perspectives on printing in the complex media ecology of 18th- and 19th-century Europe. Interacting with Print is excitingly innovative and productive in both form and content.”
Jon Klancher, Carnegie Mellon University
“Brimming with fresh ideas and international in scope, Interacting with Printchallenges received ideas about what print culture was–for instance, that it was equivalent to national culture, or that its primary relationships were those between author and reader or reader and book. The collaborators become both authors and editors at once as they excavate the relation of print to other media, people to print, and social actors to one another, and we find a many-faceted picture of print’s interactive reach in a volume that vividly redraws the map of its material and intellectual history. The result is a textual and visual treat of collaborative scholarship, often exciting in the way it pushes the boundaries of media history.”