Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Publishers: An Annotated Bibliography
I love libraries. I had actually forgotten how much I loved libraries; so far in my college experience, I’ve sort of avoided the library, but making this bibliography (or at least starting it; I’ve found a few more references I want to track down later) has reminded me how much I enjoy the time I spend in the library. Actually, though, it’s probably a good thing that I haven’t been into the library too often; I have to admit that a large portion of the time I spent there was actually getting sidetracked by other cool or interesting things. I probably spent the same amount of time reading extraneous articles as I spent reading books germane to my topic. Oh well, I enjoyed it, so I can’t really say it was a waste. J
I started my search with several ideas of what I wanted to research, and one very specific source that I wanted to start from. I remember, when I was younger and I had to research anything, the first place I looked was always the encyclopedia. A “compendium of all knowledge,” with detailed descriptions and, if you’re lucky, a significant bibliography. I made my way to the Encyclopedia Britannica (cited herein) and started researching! After reading the different articles (including dictionaries and anthologies), I settled on the birth and beginnings of the publishing movement. I found the section of the bibliography that was concerned with the history of book publishing and started chasing down titles.
After a few hours of work and discarding most of the books because their scope was entirely post 1700s, I started to find a few authors and works that were popular in the ‘recommended reading’ sections from many of these books. Eventually, I found myself in a tiny corner of the Harold B Lee Library fifth floor, searching shelf after shelf in the “Z” section, which contains an interesting mix of library sciences, information sciences, and other publishing or book-related sciences.
So, here’s the first part of my annotated bibliography; if I find more sources that interest me, I will append them in an edit below the original list.
*The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 26, 1995. [First place I looked!] AE5 E363
Covers in an encyclopedic fashion (naturally) the definition and broader history of publishing, beginning with authorship of manuscripts, discussing the book trade in antiquity, then the decline during the Middle Ages and the subsequent renewed interest at the end of the Middle Ages and into the early Renaissance. It then continues into modern day publishing practices.
*Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, The Life of a Book: How the Book is Written, Published, Printed, Sold and Read, 1957, [referred to by Winckler in his “Reader in the History of Books,” also a few other books I decided not to reference in this bibliography] Z4 .L5
(Unfortunately, this book is the only one I found referred to more than once in different books, and the only copy has been checked out! If it is returned soon, I will give a real annotation later)
*Winckler, Paul A. Reader in the History of Books and Printing, Information Handling Services, 1978. [found in the bibliography of the “Encyclopedia Britannica”] Z4 .R4
This book is almost an anthology, or at least a collection of essays on the topic of the history of books and printing. Several of the articles talk about the transition from written manuscript to print, and the significant change in the relationship between authors and publishers as publishing becomes a real business. (Includes a very interesting essay taken from the above Lehmann-Haupt book that makes me interested to see that book)
*Mumby, Frank Arthur; Publishing and Bookselling: the Book Trade, 1954. [Also found in the “Encyclopedia Britannica” bibliography] Z323 .M95
The first chapter focuses on the earliest examples of book trading; it discusses the ancient sellers of the Egyptian Book of the Dead as well as later authors and sellers of books in ancient Greece (ca. 600 BCE). By this time, there was an organized book trade occurring, which reached its pinnacle some time later, during the reign of Alexander the Great.
*Pattinger, David T. The French Book Trade in the Ancien Régime, 1500-1791. Harvard University Press, 1958. [found while browsing; it stood out to me because of the French in the title, and it proved interesting] Z144 .P6
Discusses many aspects of the French contribution to printing, publishing, and authoring books. It talks about the initial close and friendly relationship, when publishers and printers and authors all lived and worked at the university in Paris, and contrasts it with the later, harsher relationship as the publishers began to realize the power of their monopoly on the printed word. Also has lots of interesting tidbits about famous French authors from the time period.