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Cover for Barnhill, Gems of Art on Paper

Barnhill, Georgia. Gems of Art on Paper: Illustrated American Fiction and Poetry, 1785-1885. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2021.

Georgia Barnhill explains the costs and risks that publishers faced as they brought about the transition from a sparse visual culture to a rich one. Investing in new technologies, publishers worked closely with skilled draftsmen, engravers, and printers to reach an increasingly literate and discriminating American middle class. The works of art produced impacted readers’ understanding of the texts and greatly enriched the nation’s cultural life. 

Frost Cover

Simon Frost, Reading, Wanting, and Broken Economics: A Twenty-First-Century Study of Readers and Bookshops in Southampton around 1900. New York, SUNY (State University of New York Press), 2021.

Presents a trans-local history of book shops, readers and retail to challenge a long-standing binarism between cultural and economic value. It finds the binarism sustained from a misconception of consumption by conventional economics that ignores the political cultural dimensions to economic thinking and confuses ‘consumption’ for what is really ‘reading’.

Jan Hillgärtner, News in Times of Conflict. The Development of the German Newspaper, 1605–1650. Leiden / Boston: Brill, 2021. ISBN 978-90-04-43248-2. 112,00€ 134,00$.

The book traces the development and spread of the newspaper and the development of the printing industry in Germany in the seventeenth century. Based on an inspection of all printed newspapers of this period, it offers an overview of regional and thematic reporting and the development of journalistic styles and ethics.

Cover for The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Aphra Behn

Elaine Hobby, Claire Bowditch, Mel Evans, Gillian Wright (gen. eds.), Rachel Adcock, Kate Aughterson, Claire Bowditch, Elaine Hobby, Alan James Hogarth, Anita Pacecho, and Margarete Rubik (eds), The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Aphra Behn: Plays 1682-1696. Volume IV. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021. ISBN 978-1-108-84074-3. £89.99.

This old-spelling scholarly edition of Aphra Behn’s plays 1682-96 is based on collations of copies of lifetime (or first posthumous) editions of Behn’s works. Each play is prefaced by a Headnote of several hundred words discussing its book-history and cultural contexts. Textual notes and commentary notes appear on the page.

Cover for Joshi, The Anglo-Indian Press

Priti Joshi, The Anglo-Indian Press Writes India. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2021. ISBN 978-1-4384-8413-6. $95.00.

This book examines English-language newspapers from India between 1845 and 1860 to illuminate the circulation and reproduction of colonial narratives and unpack the maintenance and tensions of empire. Joshi analyzes circulation—of newspapers and news, of peoples and ideas—and newspapers’ coverage of crises such as the sensational trial of Jyoti Prasad in Agra in 1851 and the Uprising of 1857.

Susann Liebich, Laurence Publicover (eds.), Shipboard Literary Cultures: Reading, Writing, and Performing at Sea. Springer International Publishing, 2021. ISBN 978-3030853389. $139.

The essays collected within this volume ask how literary practices are shaped by the experience of being at sea―and also how they forge that experience. Individual chapters explore the literary worlds of naval ships, whalers, commercial vessels, emigrant ships, and troop transports from the seventeenth to the twentieth-first century, revealing a rich history of shipboard reading, writing, and performing. 

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Julie Rak, False Summit: Gender in Mountaineering Nonfiction. Montreal, Kingson: McGill-Queens University Press, 2021. ISBN 9780228006275. $34.95 CAD.

False Summit unpacks gender politics in the expedition narratives and memoirs of mountaineers in the Himalayas and the Karakoram.
Why are women still a minority in the world’s highest places? Julie Rak proposes that the genre has itself reached a “false summit” – a peak that proves not to be the pinnacle – and that mountaineering is not ready to welcome other ways of climbing or other kinds of climbers.

Matthew Sangster, Living as an Author in the Romantic Period. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. ISBN: 978-3-030-37046-6 (hb); 978-3-030-37047-3 (ebook). £89.99 (hb); £71.50 (ebook).

This book explores how Romantic-period authors profited from their writings, using previously-underutilised archives to examine authors’ interactions with publishers; the challenges of literary sociability; the vexed construction of enduring careers; the factors that prevented most aspiring writers (particularly the less privileged) from accruing significant rewards; the rhetorical professionalisation of periodicals; and the manners in which emerging paradigms and technologies catalysed a belated transformation in how literary writing was consumed and perceived.

Suzanne Stauffer (ed.), Libraries, Archives, and Museums : An Introduction to Cultural Heritage Institutions. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021. 978-1-5381-1890-0 Paperback. $110.00 £85.00.

This is the first book to consider the development of all three cultural heritage institutions – libraries, archives, and museums – and their interactions with society and culture from ancient history to the present day in Western Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Robert E. Walls, Resilience Through Writing: A Bibliographic Guide to Indigenous-Authored Publications in the Pacific Northwest before 1960.  Memoir 20. Journal of Northwest Anthropology. Richland, WA., 2021.  ISBN 979-8566579900  $34.95.

Resilience Through Writing: A Bibliographic Guide to Indigenous-Authored Publications in the Pacific Northwest before 1960 is an anthropological monograph that documents the earliest writing and publishing projects of Indigenous people in Northwestern North America. Even as many Indigenous men and women worked as consultants for Boasian anthropologists and folklorists, they also published their own versions of oral traditions, tribal histories, and humorous stories, as well as poetry, fiction, and numerous other literary genres. Using the technology of print, and the privileged character of writing as modern communication, Native authors were able to mobilize written texts and disperse their carefully worded claims to rights and territory, and thereby expand their networks of contacts and potential allies within and outside of Indian Country. In so many respects, writing did not erase Indigeneity; it enhanced its resilience. Most annotations contain biographical details about authors, and information about the tribal context and significance of these publications to both academics and tribal descendants.

Elizabeth Williamson, Elizabethan Diplomacy and Epistolary Culture. Routledge, 2021. ISBN 9780367761295. £120.00 (on sale currently, £96).

This new account of Elizabethan diplomacy examines the world of letters underlying information gathering and political administration by exploring a material text never before studied in its own right: the diplomatic letter-book. Extending this discussion to our own conditions of access, the book then turns to the loaded afterlife of those letters across the early modern and digital archive.

Corinna Zeltsman, Ink under the Fingernails: Printing Politics in Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Oakland, University of California Press, 2021. ISBN 9780520344341. $34.95.

Centering the diverse communities that worked behind the scenes at urban presses and examining their social practices and aspirations, Ink under the Fingernails explores how printer interactions with state and religious authorities shaped broader debates about press freedom and authorship in nineteenth-century Mexico.


Cover for The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Three-Volume Novel.

Troy J. Bassett, The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Three-Volume Novel. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. ISBN 978-3-030-31925-0 $84.99 (hardcover), $64.99 (ebook).

Utilizing recent developments in book history and digital humanities, this book offers a cultural, economic, and literary history of the Victorian three-volume novel, the prestige format for the British novel during much of the nineteenth century. With the publication of Walter Scott’s popular novels in the 1820s, the three-volume novel became the standard format for new fiction aimed at middle-class audiences through the support of circulating libraries. Following a quantitative analysis examining who wrote and published these novels, the book investigates the success of publisher Richard Bentley in producing three-volume novels, the experiences of the W. H. Smith circulating library in distributing them, the difficulties of authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson and George Moore in writing them, and the resistance of new publishers such as Arrowsmith and Unwin to publishing them. Rather than faltering, the three-volume novel stubbornly endured until its abandonment in the 1890s.

Cover image for How the Other Half Laughs

Jean Lee Cole, How the Other Half Laughs: The Comic Sensibility in American culture, 1895-1920. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2020. ISBN: 9781496826527 (hardcover); 9781496826534 (paperback). US$99 (hardcover); US$30 (paperback).

How the Other Half Laughs examines how the early newspaper comic strip emerged in the closing years of the nineteenth century in the pages of newspapers including Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s Journal-American, and traces how it influenced popular fiction, illustration, and art of the period.

Cover image for Hearing More Voices: English Canadian Women in Print and on the Air, 1914-1960

Peggy Lynn Kelly and Carole Gerson, Hearing More Voices: English Canadian Women in Print and on the Air, 1914-1960. Ottawa, CA: Tecumseh Press, 2020. ISBN 9781896133713 (softcover); ISBN 9781896133737 (HTML). Canadiana (print) 20190204672; Canadiana (ebook) 20190204680. CA$24.95

Hearing More Voices analyzes the working lives and professional output of female broadcasters, authors of radio plays, novelists, humourists, historians, journalists, and poets who produced much of the middlebrow and modernist culture of English-speaking Canada, from 1914 to 1960. Many under-recognized names join the few that are currently canonical.

Cover for Annotating Modernism book

Amanda Golden, Annotating Modernism: Marginalia and Pedagogy from Virginia Woolf to the Confessional Poets. Abington, UK: Routledge, 2020. ISBN: 9781472410764. US$149.95 (hardback); US$134.96 (ebook).

Making extensive use of archival materials by Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, and Anne Sexton, Amanda Golden reframes the relationship between modernism and midcentury poetry. While Golden situates her book among other materialist histories of modernism, she moves beyond the examination of published works to address poets’ annotations in their personal copies of modernist texts. A consideration of the dynamics of literary influence, Annotating Modernism analyzes the teaching strategies of midcentury poets and the ways they read modernists like T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, and W. B. Yeats. Situated within a larger rethinking of modernism, Golden’s study illustrates the role of midcentury poets in shaping modernist discourse.

Cover Image for Old Books and Digital Publishing

Stephen H. Gregg, Old Books and Digital Publishing: Eighteenth-Century Collections Online. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020. Online ISBN: 9781108767415. Open Access. $12.99 Print.

This is a history of Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, a database of over 180,000 titles. Published by Gale in 2003 it has had an enormous impact of the study of the eighteenth century. Like many commercial digital archives, ECCO’s continuing development obscures its precedents. This Element examines its prehistory as, first, a computer catalogue of eighteenth-century print, and then as a commercial microfilm collection, before moving to the digitisation and development of the interfaces to ECCO, as well as Gale’s various partnerships and licensing deals. An essential aspect of this Element is how it explores the socio-cultural and technological debates around the access to old books from the 1930s to the present day: Stephen Gregg demonstrates how these contexts powerfully shape the way ECCO works to this day. The Element’s aim is to make us better users and better readers of digital archives.

Cover image for The Tenniel Illustrations to the Alice Books

Michael Hancher, The Tenniel Illustrations to the Alice Books. 2nd edition. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2019. ISBN: 978-0-8142-1411-4. US$54.95

The original twelve chapters of this standard account of Tenniel’s Alice illustrations are updated with newly available information. Six new chapters examine the material circumstances that conditioned the publication of the Alice books (wood engraving, electrotyping, printing, coloring, reprinting), and also the importance of looking in those stories.

Image shows the spines of four copies of book titled Serial Encounters

Clare Hutton, Serial Encounters: Ulysses and the Little Review. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780198744078. £60.

James Joyce’s Ulysses was first published in New York in the Little Review between 1918 and 1920. What kind of reception did it have and how does the serial version of the text differ from the version most readers know, the iconic volume edition published in Paris in 1922 by Shakespeare and Company?  This study fuses the methodologies of book history, textual criticism and digital humanities in order to (1) uncover long forgotten facts relevant to the interpretation of Ulysses and Modernism more generally and (2) open up new readings of Joyce’s iconic masterpiece. 

Cover image for Toronto Trailblazers book

Ruth Panofsky, Toronto Trailblazers: Women in Canadian Publishing. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781487505578 (cloth); 9781487523862 (paper).CA$63.75 (CLOTH); CA$19.47 (PAPER); CA$22.46 (eBOOK)

Toronto Trailblazers explores the influence of seven women who advanced Canada’s modern literary culture. Individually, each woman asserted her agency by adapting orthodox ways of working within publishing. Collectively, their approach emerged as a feminist practice. These trailblazers disrupted the dominant masculine paradigm and helped transform publishing practice in Canada.

Cover image for Quaerendo 50 Special Issue

Trude Dijkstra and Paul Dijstelberge, eds., Quaerendo 50 Special Issue. The Past of our Future. Moving Perspectives on Innovation and Tradition in the Book Market. Leiden: Brill, 2020. eISSN= 1570-0690; ISSN=0014-9527.

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This year Quaerendo celebrates its 50th anniversary. To commemorate such an historic moment, this special issue brings together a broad range of innovative approaches to current book historical research on the theme The Past of our Future. Moving Perspectives on Innovation and Tradition in the Book Market.

Cover image for A Companion to the History of the Book vol 1
Cover image for A Companion to the History of the Book vol 2

Simon Eliot and Jonathan Rose, eds., A Companion to the History of the Book (2 vols.). 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley/Blackwell, 2019. ISBN:  978-1-119-01820-9. US$43.99 (ebook); US$390.00 (hardcover).

This revised and updated edition of The Companion to the History of the Book offers a global survey of the book’s history. It presents current research on paper, printing, binding, scientific publishing, the history of maps, music and print, the profession of authorship, lexicography, ancient clay tablets, archives and paperwork, Arabic script, the Slavic, Canadian, African and Australasian book, new textual technologies, and much more.

Mary Hammond and Jonathan Rose, eds., The Edinburgh History of Reading (4 vols.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020. £350

ISBN: Volume 1, Early Readers (9781474446082)

          Volume 2, Modern Readers (9781474446112)

          Volume 3, Common Readers (9781474461887)

          Volume 4, Subversive Readers (9781474461917)

This collection of original essays explores reading experiences throughout the world and in all historical periods: in ancient China, medieval Europe, the Ottoman Empire, colonial Latin America, revolutionary France, Victorian Britain, Czarist and Stalinist Russia, the Japanese Empire, and contemporary Africa; reading among Confucian scholars, prisoners, the blind, music lovers, science fiction fans, pornographers, peasants, and transgender activists.

Cover image for Book Value Categories and the Acceptance of Technological Changes in English Book Production

Simon Rosenberg, Book Value Categories and the Acceptance of Technological Changes in English Book Production. Berlin: Peter Lang Verlag, 2020. ISBN: 9783631804261. EU$ 81

With a macroscopic, comparative approach, this book looks at transitional phases of the book of the fifteenth, nineteenth and twenty-first centuries to locate patterns in the acceptance of new technologies. Using book value categories, which shape the acceptance context of innovations in book production, helps us find continuities and discontinuities.

Cover image for Handwritten Newspapers book

Heiko Droste and Kirsti Salmi-Niklander, eds., Handwritten Newspapers. An Alternative Medium during the Early Modern and Modern Periods. Studia Fennica Historica 26. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2019. ISBN: 978-951-858-156-0

Open Access:

Print-on-demand 45 Ç

This book is the first edited volume focusing on handwritten newspapers as an alternative medium from a wide interdisciplinary and international perspective. The time span ranges from the 16th to the 20th century. During these centuries, handwritten newspapers changed from an expensive public commodity to an internal medium for non-elite groups.

Cover image for book titled The Brand of Print

Andie Silva, The Brand of Print: Marketing Paratexts in the Early English Book Trade. Leiden: Brill, 2019. ISBN: 978-90-04-41023-7. US$165.00

The Brand of Print examines envoys to the reader, visual design in title pages and tables of contents, and patron dedications.  Applying terms from contemporary marketing theory, Silva considers how print agents’ labor and agency, made visible through paratextual design, continues to influence how we read, study, and digitize early modern texts.

Cover image for book titled Women’s Labour and the History of the Book in Early Modern England

Valerie Wayne (ed.), Women’s Labour and the History of the Book in Early Modern England. London: Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN 9781350110014. US$100.00

This collection reveals the valuable work that women achieved in publishing, printing, writing and reading early modern English books, from those who worked in the book trade to those who composed, selected, collected and annotated books.

Cover image for Studying Early Printed Books

Sarah Werner, Studying Early Printed Books, 1450-1800: A Practical Guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-119-04997-5. US$99.95 (hardcover) US$27.95 (paperback).

Designed to introduce students, researchers, and librarians to the first centuries of printing, this is an accessible introduction to working with early printed books. The first half describes how books were made, from paper to press to shop. The second half focuses on using such books, whether in a library or looking at them on a computer screen. A glossary and an annotated reading list are included; the open companion site,, provides images and teaching resources.

2018-and before

Cover Image for Books for Idle Hours

Donna Harrington-Lueker, Books for Idle Hours: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Rise of Summer Reading. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018. ISBN 9781625343833. $29..95.

Drawing on publishing records, book reviews, readers’ diaries, and popular novels of the period, Donna Harrington-Lueker explores the beginning of summer reading and the backlash against it. Countering fears about the dangers of leisurely reading—especially for young women—publishers framed summer reading not as a disreputable habit but as a respectable pastime and welcome respite. Books for Idle Hours sheds new light on an ongoing seasonal publishing tradition.