Agent of Change
Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein
Wide-ranging essays on print culture from Renaissance Europe to the contemporary digital world
Inspiring debate since the early days of its publication, Elizabeth L. Eisenstein's The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe (1979) has exercised its own force as an agent of change in the world of scholarship. Its path-breaking agenda has played a central role in shaping the study of print culture and "book history"—fields of inquiry that rank among the most exciting and vital areas of scholarly endeavor in recent years.
Joining together leading voices in the field of print scholarship, this collection of twenty essays affirms the catalytic properties of Eisenstein's study as a stimulus to further inquiry across geographic, temporal, and disciplinary boundaries. From early modern marginalia to the use of architectural title pages in Renaissance books, from the press in Spanish colonial America to print in the Islamic world, from the role of the printed word in nation-building to changing histories of reading in the electronic age, this book addresses the legacy of Eisenstein's work in print culture studies today as it suggests future directions for the field.
In addition to a conversation with Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, the book includes contributions by Peng Hwa Ang, Margaret Aston, Tony Ballantyne, Vivek Bhandari, Ann Blair, Barbara A. Brannon, Roger Chartier, Kai-wing Chow, James A. Dewar, Robert A. Gross, David Scott Kastan, Harold Love, Paula McDowell, Jane McRae, Jean-Dominique Mellot, Antonio Rodr’guez-Buckingham, Geoffrey Roper, William H. Sherman, Peter Stallybrass, H. Arthur Williamson, and Calhoun Winton.
"This collection of essays is one of the most important of its kind. The contributions are consistently of very high quality and exhibit a range that is wonderfully engaging. . . . Agent of Change would make a terrific reader for a graduate seminar in book history."—Michael F. Suarez, SJ, Fordham University and Campion Hall, Oxford
"Eisenstein's impact is undeniable and the editors of the present volume have gathered together twenty essays by scholars form a range of disciplines which collectively illustrate the kind of breadth and depth that has been achieved in this field in the last three decades."—Technology and Culture
"Just as Eisenstein's giant book is a manse with many rooms, many spaces into which one may project oneself intellectually, so too this stimulating collection, in its varied and sundry parts, will serve as an excellent resource for a variety of pedagogical uses in literature and history seminars where its essays can be placed into dialog with others."—H-Net Reviews
"It reads like an intellectual labor of love. Contributors and editors stay on task consistently and admirably. . . . There are treasures throughout. . . ."—Winterthur Portfolio
"This absorbing and densely packed volume is the best possible tribute to the impact of Einstein's seminal study of early modern print culture. . . . Beautifully conceived as well as a superbly executed project."—The Sixteenth Century Journal