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MIT 026 Exam Review Notes

MIT 026 Exam Review Notes - MIT 026 Exam Review Week 2...

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MIT 026 Exam Review Week 2 History & Future of the Book History of the Book Alex Wright: If there’s one lesson we can glean from the history of technology, it’s the law of unintended consequences. No one could have predicted that the printing press would help trigger the Protestant Reformation. Today, we can only begin to guess at the long-term consequences of the Internet. But it seems reasonable to suppose that the spread of the global network will continue to trigger major shifts in the structure of organizations, make national boundaries more porous, and fuel a trend towards bottom-up, self-organizing communities. (Wright, p.110) “Gutenberg’s machine arrived in Europe not as a benign force for personal enlightenment but as a profoundly disruptive technology that triggered a series of painful and often bloody conflicts.” What is Wright Talking about? - a relationship between information technology and cultural change - information “artifacts” take on new roles (rise of social documents ) rise of new literacies standardization (of typeface, title pages, title pages, bibliographic matter, publishers’ marks or colophons fixity of text, (and of meaning?) rise of textual communities , imagined communities mass communication What does this have to do with the history of the book? Social and cultural history of communication of printed texts, Communication of ideas or how ideas were transmitted through texts, How this influenced the thought and behaviour of mankind Darton’s Communication Circuit
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Darnton initially proposed a model of social and cultural communication model in the early 1980s when history of the book was still a new field of study. Over the next 20 years or so the field grew rapidly and with much excitement due to the work of scholars in a variety of disciplines. Darnton proposed his model as an attempt to cut across disciplines to present a holistic model for book history. It was an attempt to establish common ground in a field that was rampant with diverse approaches. In Darnton’s model the book circulates among different agents beginning with the author – publisher, printers, suppliers, shippers, booksellers, readers, libraries. Social and cultural influences are placed in the middle of the circuit: intellectual influences, economic and social factors as well as political and legal sanctions. These influences push out into the circuit and can affect the circulation of texts and transmision of ideas at any point. Critique of Darton’s Model Book itself is an abstraction (idea or concept) Not book history as much as social history Emphasis on functional aspects of circuit rather than the way books “work” in specific “culture industry” E.g not just what a bookseller does but what it means to be a bookseller Adams & Barker : A book-centered model Adams and Barker put the book and “its events” in the centre of the model and the “indirect forces” are outside of it. The five events in the life of a book are: 1. Publishing 2. Manufacturing 3. Distribution 4. Reception 5. Survival
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