"The greatest bibliographer of our time," was how historian Robert Darnton described D. F. McKenzie. Yet until now many of McKenzie's major essays, scattered in specialist journals and inaccessible publications, have circulated mainly in tattered photocopies. This volume, edited by two of McKenzie's former students, brings together for the first time a wide range of his writings on bibliography, the book trade, and the "sociology of texts." Selected by the author himself before his sudden death in 1999, the essays range from the material transmission of Shakespeare's plays in the seventeenth century to the connections among oral, manuscript, and print cultures.
Making Meaning reflects McKenzie's virtuosity as a traditional bibliographer and reveals how his thought-provoking scholarship made him a driving force in the genesis and development of the new interdisciplinary field of book history. His refusal to recognize the traditional boundary between bibliography and literary history re-energized the study of the social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of book production and reception.
The editors' introduction and headnotes situate McKenzie's innovative and controversial thinking in the debates of his time.