Cultures of Print
Essays in the History of the Book
How did people in early America understand the authority of print and how was this authority sustained and contested? These questions are at the heart of this set of pathbreaking essays in the history of the book by one of America's leading practitioners in this interdisciplinary field.
David D. Hall examines the interchange between popular and learned cultures and the practices of reading and writing. His writings deal with change and continuity, exploring the possibility of a reading revolution and arguing for the long duration of a Protestant vernacular tradition. A newly written essay on book culture in the early Chesapeake describes a system of scribal publication. The pieces reflect Hall's belief that the better we understand the production and consumption of books, the closer we come to a social history of culture.
"Will surely command a wide audience in the academy and gain a regular place on syllabi devoted to book history. Hall is a master of the historiographical essay and in his reflections on the history of the book, he manages both to assay the shape of the field and to suggest the cultural insights it offers into the past. This is a growing international field and Hall is its most sophisticated proponent and practitioner in the Americanist camp."—Robert A. Gross, chair of the Program in the History of the Book, American Antiquarian Society
"Hall is widely acknowledged to be the foremost authority in the United States today in this field, and this collection of essays represents some of his most important work. It promises to be the starting point for anyone working in the history of the book in America."—Mary Kupiec Cayton, Miami University