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Against the Grain
Interviews with Maverick American Publishers
Robert Dana
University of Iowa Press, 1986
Against the Grain is a collection of interviews with nine small press publishers, each one characterized by strength of resolve and a dedication to good books. Each press reflects, perhaps more directly than any large trade publisher could, the character of its founder; and each has earned its own place in the select group of important small presses in America.

This collection is the first of its kind to explore with the publishers themselves the historical, aesthetic, practical, and personal impulses behind literary publishing. The publishers included are Harry Duncan (the Cummington Press), Lawrence Ferlinghetti (City Lights), David Godine (David R. Godine), Daniel Halpern (the Ecco Press), Sam Hamill and Tree Swenson (Copper Canyon Press), James Laughlin (New Directions), John Martin (Black Sparrow), and Jonathan Williams (the Jargon Society). Their passion for books, their belief in their individual visions of what publishing is or could be, their inspired mulishness crackle on the page.
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American Intelligence
Small-Town News and Political Culture in Federalist New Hampshire
Ben P. Lafferty
University of Massachusetts Press, 2020
The rapid expansion of the newspaper business in the first decade of the American republic had crucial consequences for cultural, commercial, and political life in the early United States, as the nation went from having dozens of weekly newspapers to hundreds. Before organized newsrooms and bureaus came on the scene, these fledgling publications were filled with content copied from other newspapers as well as letters, poems, religious tracts, and ribald anecdotes submitted by readers. 

Taking up the New Hampshire newspaper industry as its case study, American Intelligence unpacks the ways in which an unprecedented quantity of printed material was gathered, distributed, marketed, and consumed, as well as the strong influence that it had on the shaping of the American political imagination. Ben P. Lafferty also considers the lives of the printers themselves and asks why so many men chose to pursue such a fraught and turbulent profession. This snapshot resonates with the contemporary media-saturated and politically chaotic age.
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Andy Warhol, Publisher
Lucy Mulroney
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Although we know him best as a visual artist and filmmaker, Andy Warhol was also a publisher. Distributing his own books and magazines, as well as contributing to those of others, Warhol found publishing to be one of his greatest pleasures, largely because of its cooperative and social nature.

Journeying from the 1950s, when Warhol was starting to make his way through the New York advertising world, through the height of his career in the 1960s, to the last years of his life in the 1980s, Andy Warhol, Publisher unearths fresh archival material that reveals Warhol’s publications as complex projects involving a tantalizing cast of collaborators, shifting technologies, and a wide array of fervent readers.

Lucy Mulroney shows that whether Warhol was creating children’s books, his infamous “boy book” for gay readers, writing works for established houses like Grove Press and Random House, helping found Interview magazine, or compiling a compendium of photography that he worked on to his death, he readily used the elements of publishing to further and disseminate his art. Warhol not only highlighted the impressive variety in our printed culture but also demonstrated how publishing can cement an artistic legacy.
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The Art of Prestige
The Formative Years at Knopf, 1915-1929
Amy Clements
University of Massachusetts Press, 2014
In the American book trade, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and its inimitable logo featuring a borzoi wolfhound have come to signify the pinnacle of prestigious publishing. Launched in 1915 by a dynamic twenty-two-year-old and his refined fiancée, Blanche Wolf, the firm soon developed a reputation for excellence, quickly overcoming outsider status to forge a unique identity that has endured well past its founders' lifetimes.

Capturing the little-known early history of Knopf, The Art of Prestige explores the origins of the company's rise to success during the Jazz Age, when Alfred and Blanche established themselves as literary impresarios on both sides of the Atlantic. Drawing on key archival documents from all phases of the publishing process, Amy Root Clements reconstructs the turning points and rhetorical exchanges that made Knopf's initial books noteworthy, from the acquisitions process to design, consumer marketing, and bookselling.

Lasting cornerstones of the young firm include alliances with pivotal figures in the world of graphic arts and book production and with European publishers who brought numerous Nobel Prize winners to the Borzoi list during the company's first fifteen years. Other featured luminaries include the American authors Willa Cather, Dashiell Hammett, and Langston Hughes. The Art of Prestige also examines Alfred Knopf's ancestry, up-bringing, and formal education at Columbia, as well as his apprenticeships with Frank Nelson Doubleday and Mitchell Kennerley—factors that would influence his business decisions for years to come.

The result is a portrait of innovative branding that seamlessly merged book production with book promotion in a literary landscape that was ripe for transformation.
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Artistic Liberties
American Literary Realism and Graphic Illustration, 1880-1905
Adam Sonstegard
University of Alabama Press, 2013
A landmark study of the illustrations that originally accompanied now-classic works of American literary realism
 
Though today we commonly read major works of nineteenth-century American literature in unillustrated paperbacks or anthologies, many of them first appeared as magazine serials, accompanied by ample illustrations that sometimes made their way into the serials’ first printings as books. The graphic artists creating these illustrations often visually addressed questions that the authors had left for the reader to interpret, such as the complexions of racially ambiguous characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The artists created illustrations that depicted what outsiders saw in Huck and Jim in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, rather than what Huck and Jim learned to see in one another. These artists even worked against the texts on occasion—for instance, when the illustrators reinforced the same racial stereotypes that writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar had intended to subvert in their works.
 
Authors of American realism commonly submitted their writing to editors who allowed them little control over the aesthetic appearance of their work. In his groundbreaking Artistic Liberties, Adam Sonstegard studies the illustrations from these works in detail and finds that the editors employed illustrators who were often unfamiliar with the authors’ intentions and who themselves selected the literary material they wished to illustrate, thereby taking artistic liberties through the tableaux they created.
 
Sonstegard examines the key role that the appointed artists played in visually shaping narratives—among them Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Stephen Crane’s The Monster, and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth—as audiences tended to accept their illustrations as guidelines for understanding the texts. In viewing these works as originally published, received, and interpreted, Sonstegard offers a deeper knowledge not only of the works, but also of the realities surrounding publication during this formative period in American literature.
 
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Asylum, Prison, and Poorhouse
The Writings and Reform Work of Dorothea Dix in Illinois
David L. Lightner
Southern Illinois University Press, 1999

This illustrated collection of annotated newspaper articles and memorials by Dorothea Dix provides a forum for the great mid-nineteenth-century humanitarian and reformer to speak for herself.

Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802­–87) was perhaps the most famous and admired woman in America for much of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1840s, she launched a personal crusade to persuade the various states to provide humane care and effective treatment for the mentally ill by funding specialized hospitals for that purpose. The appalling conditions endured by most mentally ill inmates in prisons, jails, and poorhouses led her to take an active interest also in prison reform and in efforts to ameliorate poverty.

In 1846–­47 Dix brought her crusade to Illinois. She presented two lengthy memorials to the legislature, the first describing conditions at the state penitentiary at Alton and the second discussing the sufferings of the insane and urging the establishment of a state hospital for their care. She also wrote a series of newspaper articles detailing conditions in the jails and poorhouses of many Illinois communities.

These long-forgotten documents, which appear in unabridged form in this book, contain a wealth of information on the living conditions of some of the most unfortunate inhabitants of Illinois. In his preface, David L. Lightner describes some of the vivid images that emerge from Dorothea Dix's descriptions of social conditions in Illinois a century and a half ago: "A helpless maniac confined throughout the bitter cold of winter to a dark and filthy pit. Prison inmates chained in hallways and cellars because no more men can be squeezed into the dank and airless cells. Aged paupers auctioned off by county officers to whoever will maintain them at the lowest cost."

Lightner provides an introduction to every document, placing each memorial and newspaper article in its proper social and historical context. He also furnishes detailed notes, making these documents readily accessible to readers a century and a half later. In his final chapter, Lightner assesses both the immediate and the continuing impact of Dix's work.

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Body Love
The Amazing Career of Bernarr Macfadden
William R. Hunt
University of Wisconsin Press, 1989

Bernarr Macfadden (1868–1955) entertained and instructed Americans for decades. He championed physical exercise, fasting, and diet reform and was the relentless scourge of established doctors. He presented his views in Physical Culture, a popular magazine featuring photographs of strong men and healthy women and articles promoting the healthy life. While some critics derided him as a health nut, no one could dispute his genius as a magazine publisher. He established the world’s greatest magazine publishing empire through the innovation of such popular publications as True Story, the first confession magazine; True Detective; and many others.

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The Book in Movement
Autonomous Politics and the Lettered City Underground
Magali Rabasa
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019
Over the past two decades, Latin America has seen an explosion of experiments with autonomy, as people across the continent express their refusal to be absorbed by the logic and order of neoliberalism. The autonomous movements of the twenty-first century are marked by an unprecedented degree of interconnection, through their use of digital tools and their insistence on the importance of producing knowledge about their practices through strategies of self-representation and grassroots theorization. The Book in Movementexplores the reinvention of a specific form of media: the print book. Magalí Rabasa travels through the political and literary underground of cities in Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile to explore the ways that autonomous politics are enacted in the production and circulation of books.
 
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Books Are Weapons
The Polish Opposition Press and the Overthrow of Communism
Siobhan Doucette
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017
Much attention has been given to the role of intellectual dissidents, labor, and religion in the historic overthrow of communism in Poland during the 1980s. Books Are Weapons presents the first English-language study of that which connected them—the press. Siobhan Doucette provides a comprehensive examination of the Polish opposition’s independent, often underground, press and its crucial role in the events leading to the historic Round Table and popular elections of 1989. While other studies have emphasized the role that the Solidarity movement played in bringing about civil society in 1980-1981, Doucette instead argues that the independent press was the essential binding element in the establishment of a true civil society during the mid- to late-1980s.
            Based on a thorough investigation of underground publications and interviews with important activists of the period from 1976-1989, Doucette shows how the independent press, rooted in the long Polish tradition of well-organized resistance to foreign occupation, reshaped this tradition to embrace nonviolent civil resistance while creating a network that evolved from a small group of dissidents into a broad opposition movement with cross-national ties and millions of sympathizers.  It was the galvanizing force in the resistance to communism and the rebuilding of Poland’s democratic society.
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Books for Idle Hours
Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Rise of Summer Reading
Donna Harrington-Lueker
University of Massachusetts Press, 2019
The publishing phenomenon of summer reading, often focused on novels set in vacation destinations, started in the nineteenth century, as both print culture and tourist culture expanded in the United States. As an emerging middle class increasingly embraced summer leisure as a marker of social status, book publishers sought new market opportunities, authors discovered a growing readership, and more readers indulged in lighter fare.

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.
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Catalyst for Controversy
Paul Carus of Open Court
Harold Henderson
Southern Illinois University Press, 2009

"I am not a common atheist; I am an atheist who loves God."—Paul Carus, "The God of Science," 1904

In the summer of 1880, while teaching at the military academy of the Royal Corps of Cadets of Saxony in Dresden, Paul Carus published a brief pamphlet denying the literal truth of scripture and describing the Bible as a great literary work comparable to the Odyssey.

This unremarkable document was Carus’s first step in a wide-ranging intellectual voyage in which he traversed philosophy, science, religion, mathematics, history, music, literature, and social and political issues. The Royal Corps, Carus later reported, found his published views "not in harmony with the Christian spirit, in accordance with which the training and education of the Corps of Cadets should be conducted." And so the corps offered the young teacher the choice of asking "most humbly for forgiveness for daring to have an opinion of my own and to express it, perhaps even promise to publish nothing more on religious matters, or to give up my post. I chose the latter. . . . There was thus no other choice for me but to emigrate and, trusting in my own powers, to establish for myself a new home." His resignation was effective on Easter Sunday, 1881.

Carus toured the Rhine, lived briefly in Belgium, and taught in a military college in England to learn English well enough to "thrive in the United States." By late 1884 or early 1885 he was on his way to the New World. Thriving in the United States proved more difficult than it had in England, but before 1885 ended he had published his first philosophical work in English, Monism and Meliorism. The book was not widely read, but it did reach Edward C. Hegeler, a La Salle, Illinois, zinc processor who became his father-in-law as well as his ideological and financial backer.

Established in La Salle, Carus began the work that would place him among the prominent American philosophers of his day and make the Open Court Publishing Company a leading publisher of philosophical, scientific, and religious books. He edited The Open Court and The Monist, offering the finest view of Oriental thought and religion then available in the West, and sought unsuccessfully to bring about a second World Parliament of Religions. He befriended physicist-philosopher Ernst Mach. For eleven years he employed D. T. Suzuki, who later became a great Zen Buddhist teacher. He published more articles by Charles S. Peirce, now viewed as one of the great world philosophers, in The Monist than appeared in any other publication.

Biographer Harold Henderson concludes his study of this remarkable man: "Whenever anyone is so fired with an idea that he or she can’t wait to write it down, there the spirit of Paul Carus remains, as he would have wished, active in the world."

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The Chicago Diaries of John M. Wing 1865-1866
Transcribed and Edited by Robert Williams. Foreword by Paul F. Gehl. With an Essay by Richard A. Schwarzlose
Southern Illinois University Press, 2002

The personal—and often intimate—diaries of fledgling journalist and entrepreneur John Mansir Wing create a unique portrait of a rough-and-tumble Chicago in the first few years following the Civil War. Wing writes of a city filled with new immigrants, ex-soldiers, and the thriving merchant class making its fortunes from both before the great fire of 1871 left much of the city in ashes.

Transcribed and edited by noted Chicago bibliophile and historian Robert Williams, and published in cooperation with the Caxton Club, this volume also details the early adventures of a rural Eastern who came to the “Metropolis of the West” in his early twenties and worked for some of the most influential journalists of his day. Wing shared cigars and conversation with notable politicians, businessmen, and war heroes including Sherman and Grant, all the while conducting an active romantic life with members of his own sex in boarding houses and barrooms.

Wing’s greatest passion was for book collecting. Following a successful later career in trade journal publishing and investing, he provided an endowment to create the John M. Wing Foundation at Chicago’s famed Newberry Library. The Wing Foundation became the first American public collection devoted to the history of printing; it remains today among the nation’s best resources for the study of the bibliographic arts.

Despite his lasting importance in publishing and philanthropy, and the fact that no serious history of Chicago can be written without reference to many of his publications, John M. Wing has been largely absent from most histories of the city’s movers and shakers. Complete with historical annotations and a bibliography of Wing’s writings for the press, this fascinating personal account reclaims his deserved place in Chicago life and lore.

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The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition
The University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Technologies may change, but the need for clear and accurate communication never goes out of style. That is why for more than one hundred years The Chicago Manual of Style has remained the definitive guide for anyone who works with words.

In the seven years since the previous edition debuted, we have seen an extraordinary evolution in the way we create and share knowledge. This seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has been prepared with an eye toward how we find, create, and cite information that readers are as likely to access from their pockets as from a bookshelf. It offers updated guidelines on electronic workflows and publication formats, tools for PDF annotation and citation management, web accessibility standards, and effective use of metadata, abstracts, and keywords. It recognizes the needs of those who are self-publishing or following open access or Creative Commons publishing models. The citation chapters reflect the ever-expanding universe of electronic sources—including social media posts and comments, private messages, and app content—and also offer updated guidelines on such issues as DOIs, time stamps, and e-book locators.

Other improvements are independent of technological change. The chapter on grammar and usage includes an expanded glossary of problematic words and phrases and a new section on syntax as well as updated guidance on gender-neutral pronouns and bias-free language. Key sections on punctuation and basic citation style have been reorganized and clarified. To facilitate navigation, headings and paragraph titles have been revised and clarified throughout. And the bibliography has been updated and expanded to include the latest and best resources available.

This edition continues to reflect expert insights gathered from Chicago’s own staff and from an advisory board of publishing experts from across the profession. It also includes suggestions inspired by emails, calls, and even tweets from readers. No matter how much the means of communication change, The Chicago Manual of Style remains the ultimate resource for those who care about getting the details right.
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Commerce in Culture
The Sibao Book Trade in the Qing and Republican Periods
Cynthia J. Brokaw
Harvard University Press, 2007

Sibao today is a cluster of impoverished villages in the mountains of western Fujian. Yet from the late seventeenth through the early twentieth century, it was home to a flourishing publishing industry. Through itinerant booksellers and branch bookshops managed by Sibao natives, this industry supplied much of south China with cheap educational texts, household guides, medical handbooks, and fortune-telling manuals.

It is precisely the ordinariness of Sibao imprints that make them valuable for the study of commercial publishing, the text-production process, and the geographical and social expansion of book culture in Chinese society. In a study with important implications for cultural and economic history, Cynthia Brokaw describes rural, lower-level publishing and bookselling operations at the end of the imperial period. Commerce in Culture traces how the poverty and isolation of Sibao necessitated a bare-bones approach to publishing and bookselling and how the Hakka identity of the Sibao publishers shaped the configuration of their distribution networks and even the nature of their publications.

Sibao's industry reveals two major trends in print culture: the geographical extension of commercial woodblock publishing to hinterlands previously untouched by commercial book culture and the related social penetration of texts to lower-status levels of the population.

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Crossing through Chueca
Lesbian Literary Culture in Queer Madrid
Jill Robbins
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
In the past two decades the city of Madrid has been marked by pride, feminism, and globalization—but also by the vestiges of the machismo nurtured during the long years of the Franco dictatorship. Crossing through Chueca examines how lesbian literary culture fares in this mix from the end of the countercultural movement la movida madrileña in 1988 until the gay marriage march in 2005.

Jill Robbins traverses the various literary spaces of the city associated with queer culture, in particular the gay barrio of Chueca, revealing how it is a product of interrelations—a site crisscrossed by a multiplicity of subjects who constitute it as a queer space through the negotiation of their sexual, racial, gender, and class identities. Robbins recognizes Chueca as a political space as well, a refuge from homophobia. She also shows how the spatial and literary practices of Chueca relate to economic issues.

In examining how women’s sexual identities have become visible in and through the Chueca phenomenon, this work is a revealing example of transnational queer studies within the broader Western discussion on gender and sexuality.
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The Design of Books
An Explainer for Authors, Editors, Agents, and Other Curious Readers
Debbie Berne
University of Chicago Press, 2024
Seasoned designer Debbie Berne presents an accessible introduction to book design for authors, editors, and other book people.
 
Design is central to the appeal, messaging, and usefulness of books, but to most readers, it’s mysterious or even invisible. Through interiors as well as covers, designers provide structure and information that shape the meaning and experience of books. In The Design of Books, Debbie Berne shines a light on the conventions and processes of her profession, revealing both the aesthetic and market-driven decisions designers consider to make books readable and beautiful. In clear, unstuffy language, Berne reveals how books are put together, with discussions of production considerations, typography and fonts, page layouts, use of images and color, special issues for ebooks, and the very face of each book: the cover.  
 
The Design of Books
speaks to readers and directly to books’ creators—authors, editors, and other publishing professionals—helping them to become more informed partners in the design of their projects. Berne lays out the practical steps at each stage of the design process, providing insight into who does what when and offering advice for authors on how to be effective advocates for their ideas while also letting go and trusting their manuscripts with teams of professionals. She includes guidance as well for self-publishing authors, including where to find a designer, what to expect from that relationship, and how to art direct your own book.
 
Throughout, Berne teaches how understanding the whats, hows, and whys of book design heightens our appreciation of these cherished objects and helps everyone involved in the process to create more functional, desirable, and wonderful books.
 
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E. W. Scripps and the Business of Newspapers
Gerald Baldasty
University of Illinois Press, 1999

Edward Willis Scripps revolutionized the newspaper industry by applying modern business practices. His press empire grew to more than forty newspapers supported by a telegraphic news service and an illustrated news features syndicate. Convinced that big business was corrupting the American press, Scripps resisted supporting his newspapers through advertising. He also aimed them at the working class, an audience virtually ignored by most newspaper publishers of his era. 

Drawing on Scripps's business correspondence, Gerald Baldasty provides a portrait of a long-neglected entrepreneurial giant. Maintaining that the press should support the democratic endeavor by informing its largest constituency, Scripps succeeded in creating a string of small, one-penny newspapers that advocated for the common people by crusading for lower streetcar fares, free textbooks for public school children, municipal ownership of utilities, and pure food legislation, among many other causes.

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The Enlightenment and the Book
Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in Eighteenth-Century Britain, Ireland, and America
Richard B. Sher
University of Chicago Press, 2007

The late eighteenth century witnessed an explosion of intellectual activity in Scotland by such luminaries as David Hume, Adam Smith, Hugh Blair, William Robertson, Adam Ferguson, James Boswell, and Robert Burns. And the books written by these seminal thinkers made a significant mark during their time in almost every field of polite literature and higher learning throughout Britain, Europe, and the Americas. 

In this magisterial history, Richard B. Sher breaks new ground for our understanding of the Enlightenment and the forgotten role of publishing during that period. The Enlightenment and the Book seeks to remedy the common misperception that such classics as The Wealth of Nations and The Life of Samuel Johnson were written by authors who eyed their publishers as minor functionaries in their profession. To the contrary, Sher shows how the process of bookmaking during the late eighteenth-century involved a deeply complex partnership between authors and their publishers, one in which writers saw the book industry not only as pivotal in the dissemination of their ideas, but also as crucial to their dreams of fame and monetary gain. Similarly, Sher demonstrates that publishers were involved in the project of bookmaking in order to advance human knowledge as well as to accumulate profits. 

The Enlightenment and the Book explores this tension between creativity and commerce that still exists in scholarly publishing today. Lavishly illustrated and elegantly conceived, it will be must reading for anyone interested in the history of the book or the production and diffusion of Enlightenment thought.

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Everything Was Better in America
Print Culture in the Great Depression
David Welky
University of Illinois Press, 2007
As a counterpart to research on the 1930s that has focused on liberal and radical writers calling for social revolution, David Welky offers this eloquent study of how mainstream print culture shaped and disseminated a message affirming conservative middle-class values and assuring its readers that holding to these values would get them through hard times. Through analysis of the era's most popular newspaper stories, magazines, and books, Welky examines how voices both outside and within the media debated the purposes of literature and the meaning of cultural literacy in a mass democracy. He presents lively discussions of such topics as the newspaper treatment of the Lindbergh kidnapping, issues of race in coverage of the 1936 Olympic games, domestic dynamics and gender politics in cartoons and magazines, Superman's evolution from a radical outsider to a spokesman for the people, and the popular consumption of such novels as the Ellery Queen mysteries, Gone with the Wind, and The Good Earth. Through these close readings, Welky uncovers the subtle relationship between the messages that mainstream media strategically crafted and those that their target audience wished to hear.
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Expanding the American Mind
Books and the Popularization of Knowledge
Beth Luey
University of Massachusetts Press, 2010
Over the past fifty years, knowledge of the natural world, history, and human behavior has expanded dramatically. What has been learned in the academy has become part of political discourse, sermons, and everyday conversation. The dominant medium for transferring knowledge from universities to the public is popularization—books of serious nonfiction that make complex ideas and information accessible to nonexperts. Such writers as Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Hawking, Daniel Boorstin, and Robert Coles have attracted hundreds of thousands of readers. As fields such as biology, physics, history, and psychology have changed the ways we view ourselves and our place in the universe, popularization has played an essential role in helping us to understand our world.

Expanding the American Mind begins by comparing fiction and nonfiction—their relative respectability in the eyes of reading experts and in the opinions of readers themselves. It then traces the roots of popularization from the Middle Ages to the present, examining changes in literacy, education, and university politics. Focusing on the period since World War II, it examines the ways that curricular reform has increased interest in popularization as well as the impact of specialization and professionalization among the faculty. It looks at the motivations of academic authors and the risks and rewards that come from writing for a popular audience. It also explains how experts write for nonexperts—the rhetorical devices they use and the voices in which they communicate.

Beth Luey also looks at the readers of popularizations—their motivations for reading, the ways they evaluate nonfiction, and how they choose what to read. This is the first book to use surveys and online reader responses to study nonfiction reading. It also compares the experience of reading serious nonfiction with that of reading other genres.

Using publishers' archives and editor-author correspondence, Luey goes on to examine what editors, designers, and marketers in this very competitive business do to create and sell popularizations to the largest audience possible. In a brief afterword she discusses popularization and the Web. The result is a highly readable and engaging survey of this distinctive genre of writing.
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Fiction’s Family
Zhan Xi, Zhan Kai, and the Business of Women in Late-Qing China
Ellen Widmer
Harvard University Press, 2016
At the end of the Qing dynasty, works of fiction by male authors placed women in new roles. Fiction’s Family delves into the writings of one literary family from western Zhejiang whose works were emblematic of shifting attitudes toward women. The mother, Wang Qingdi, and the father, Zhan Sizeng, published their poems during the second half of the nineteenth century. Two of their four sons, Zhan Xi and Zhan Kai, wrote novels that promoted reforms in women’s lives. This book explores the intergenerational link, as well as relations between the sons, to find out how the conflicts faced by the parents may have been refigured in the novels of their sons. Its central question is about the brothers’ reformist attitudes. Were they based on the pronouncements of political leaders? Were they the result of trends in Shanghai publishing? Or did they derive from Wang Qingdi’s disappointment in her “companionate marriage,” as manifested in her poems? By placing one family at the center of this study, Ellen Widmer illuminates the diachronic bridge between the late Qing and the period just before it, the synchronic interplay of genres during the brothers’ lifetimes, and the interaction of Shanghai publishing with regions outside Shanghai.
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Fugitive Texts
Slave Narratives in Antebellum Print Culture
Michaël Roy, translated by Susan Pickford
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
Antebellum slave narratives have taken pride of place in the American literary canon. Once ignored, disparaged, or simply forgotten, the autobiographical narratives of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, and other formerly enslaved men and women are now widely read and studied. One key aspect of the genre, however, has been left unexamined: its materiality. What did original editions of slave narratives look like? How were these books circulated? Who read them?
In Fugitive Texts, Michaël Roy offers the first book-length study of the slave narrative as a material artifact. Drawing on a wide range of sources, he reconstructs the publication histories of a number of famous and lesser-known narratives, placing them against the changing backdrop of antebellum print culture. Slave narratives, he shows, were produced through a variety of print networks. Remarkably few were published under the full control of white-led antislavery societies; most were self-published and distributed by the authors, while some were issued by commercial publishers who hoped to capitalize on the success of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The material lives of these texts, Roy argues, did not end within the pages. Antebellum slave narratives were “fugitive texts” apt to be embodied in various written, oral, and visual forms.
Published to rave reviews in French, Fugitive Texts illuminates the heterogeneous nature of a genre often described in monolithic terms and ultimately paves the way for a redefinition of the literary form we have come to recognize as “the slave narrative.”
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Goethe and His Publishers
Siegfried Unseld
University of Chicago Press, 1996
Goethe's ranging literary genius, nimble yet luminous, resists simple classification. Poet and natural philosopher, critic and raconteur, Goethe was the most commanding literary presence of his time.

Goethe and His Publishers organizes for the first time the myriad details of Goethe's career in print. Director of the German publishing company Suhrkamp Verlag, Siegfried Unseld brings a singular perspective to this biography, focusing our attention on an essential component of Goethe's literary endeavors: his relationship to his publishers. Carefully examining each work, Unseld covers the range of Goethe's oeuvre, from first anonymous publications to eventual monumental editions brought out by Johann Friedrich Cotta, the most renowned publisher of his day.

Unseld sifts through the rich correspondence between Goethe and his publishers, as well as letters to and from friends, colleagues, and contemporaries. Analyzing publishing contracts, draft contracts, and historical documents, Unseld reveals the tremendous energy Goethe exerted on behalf of his manuscripts. During negotiations he was sometimes circumspect and reserved, other times demanding and assertive. These exchanges not only shed new light on Goethe's complex character but also show how he changed the author's role in the publishing process. Thus, this work offers a penetrating study on the intricate and many-tiered relations between author and publisher, then and today.

Goethe and His Publishers celebrates Goethe's works, his life, and his times, from the viewpoint of a publisher today. Written by an individual who has devoted much of his life to the study of the poet whom he reveres, such a personal approach not only forms an excellent introduction to Goethe's work but helps restore Goethe to his rightful place in the world of letters.

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Home and the World
Editing the “Glorious Ming” in Woodblock-Printed Books of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Yuming He
Harvard University Press, 2012
China’s sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an unprecedented explosion in the production and circulation of woodblock-printed books. What can surviving traces of that era’s print culture reveal about the makers and consumers of these books? Home and the World addresses this question by carefully examining a wide range of late Ming books, considering them not merely as texts, but as material objects and economic commodities designed, produced, and marketed to stand out in the distinctive book marketplace of the time, and promising high enjoyment and usefulness to readers. Although many of the mass-market commercial imprints studied here might have struck scholars from the eighteenth century on as too trivial, lowbrow, or slipshod to merit serious study, they prove to be an invaluable resource, providing insight into their readers’ orientations toward the increasingly complex global stage of early modernity and toward traditional Chinese conceptions of textual, political, and moral authority. On a more intimate scale, they tell us about readers’ ideals of a fashionable and pleasurable private life. Through studying these works, we come closer to recapturing the trend-conscious, sophisticated, and often subversive ways readers at this important moment in China’s history imagined their world and their place within it.
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In the Company of Books
Literature and Its "Classes" in Nineteenth-Century America
Sarah Wadsworth
University of Massachusetts Press, 2006
A vital feature of American culture in the nineteenth century was the growing awareness that the literary marketplace consisted not of a single, unified, relatively homogeneous reading public but rather of many disparate, overlapping reading communities differentiated by interests, class, and level of education as well as by gender and stage of life. Tracing the segmentation of the literary marketplace in nineteenth-century America, this book analyzes the implications of the subdivided literary field for readers, writers, and literature itself.

With sections focusing on segmentation by age, gender, and cultural status, In the Company of Books analyzes the ways authors and publishers carved up the field of literary production into a multitude of distinct submarkets, differentiated their products, and targeted specific groups of readers in order to guide their book-buying decisions. Combining innovative approaches to canonical authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, and Henry James with engaging investigations into the careers of many lesser-known literary figures, Sarah Wadsworth reveals how American writers responded to—and contributed to—this diverse, and diversified, market.

In the Company of Books contends that specialized editorial and marketing tactics, in concert with the narrative strategies of authors and the reading practices of the book-buying public, transformed the literary landscape, leading to new roles for the book in American culture, the innovation of literary genres, and new relationships between books and readers. Both an exploration of a fragmented print culture through the lens of nineteenth-century American literature and an analysis of nineteenth-century American literature from the perspective of this subdivided marketplace, this wide-ranging study offers fresh insight into the impact of market forces on the development of American literature.
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Kurt Wolff
A Portrait in Essays and Letters
Kurt Wolff
University of Chicago Press, 1991
Kurt Wolff (1887-1963) was a singular presence in the literary world of the twentieth century, a cultural force shaping modern literature itself and pioneering significant changes in publishing. During an intense, active career that spanned two continents and five decades, Wolff launched seven publishing houses and nurtured an extraordinary array of writers, among them Franz Kafka, Lou Andreas-Salomé, Boris Pasternak, Günter Grass, Robert Musil, Paul Valéry, Julian Green, Lampedusa, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
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The Labor of Literature
Democracy and Literary Culture in Modern Chile
Jane D. Griffin
University of Massachusetts Press, 2016
By producing literature in nontraditional forms—books made of cardboard trash, posters in subway stations, miniature shopping bags, digital publications, and even children's toys—Chileans have made and circulated literary objects in defiance of state censorship and independent of capitalist definitions of value. In The Labor of Literature Jane D. Griffin studies amateur and noncommercial forms of literary production in Chile that originated in response to authoritarian state politics and have gained momentum throughout the postdictatorship period. She argues that such forms advance a model of cultural democracy that differs from and sometimes contradicts the model endorsed by the state and the market.

By examining alternative literary publications, Griffin recasts the seventeen-year Pinochet dictatorship as a time of editorial experimentation despite widespread cultural oppression and shows how grassroots cultural activism has challenged government-approved corporate publishing models throughout the postdictatorship period. Griffin's work also points to the growing importance of autogestión, or do-it-yourself cultural production, where individuals combine artisanal forms with new technologies to make and share creative work on a global scale.
[more]

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Latin American Textualities
History, Materiality, and Digital Media
Edited by Heather J. Allen and Andrew R. Reynolds
University of Arizona Press, 2018
Textuality is the condition in which a text is created, edited, archived, published, disseminated, and consumed. “Texts,” therefore, encompass a broad variety of artifacts: traditional printed matter such as grammar books and newspaper articles; phonographs; graphic novels; ephemera such as fashion illustrations, catalogs, and postcards; and even virtual databases and cataloging systems.\

Latin American Textualities is a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at textual history, textual artifacts, and digital textualities across Latin America from the colonial era to the present. Editors Heather J. Allen and Andrew R. Reynolds gather a wide range of scholars to investigate the region’s textual scholarship. Contributors offer engaging examples of not just artifacts but also the contexts in which the texts are used. Topics include Guamán Poma’s library, the effect of sound recordings on writing in Argentina, Sudamericana Publishing House’s contribution to the Latin American literary boom, and Argentine science fiction. Latin American Textualities provides new paths to reading Latin American history, culture, and literatures.

Contributors:

Heather J. Allen
Catalina Andrango-Walker
Sam Carter
Sara Castro-Klarén
Edward King
Rebecca Kosick
Silvia Kurlat Ares
Walther Maradiegue
Clayton McCarl
José Enrique Navarro
Andrew R. Reynolds
George Antony Thomas
Zac Zimmer
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The Letters of the Republic
Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America
Michael Warner
Harvard University Press, 1990
The subject of Michael Warner’s book is the rise of a nation. America, he shows, became a nation by developing a new kind of reading public, where one becomes a citizen by taking one’s place as writer or reader. At heart, the United States is a republic of letters, and its birth can be dated from changes in the culture of printing in the early eighteenth century. The new and widespread use of print media transformed the relations between people and power in a way that set in motion the republican structure of government we have inherited. Examining books, pamphlets, and circulars, he merges theory and concrete analysis to provide a multilayered view of American cultural development.
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Lost Illusions
Christine Haynes
Harvard University Press, 2010

Linking the study of business and politics, Christine Haynes reconstructs the passionate and protracted debate over the development of the book trade in nineteenth-century France. While traditionalists claimed that the business of literature required tight state regulation, an increasingly influential group of reformers argued that books were ordinary commodities whose production and distribution were best left to the free market.

The French Revolution overthrew the system of guilds and privileges that had governed the trade under the Old Regime. In the struggle that followed, the new men known as éditeurs (publishers) pushed for increased liberalization of the market. They relied on collective organization, especially a professional association known as the Cercle de la Librairie, to advocate for abolition of licensing requirements and extension of literary rights. Haynes shows how publishers succeeded in transforming the industry from a tightly controlled trade into a free enterprise, with dramatic but paradoxical consequences for literature in France.

The modern literary marketplace was the outcome of a political struggle both within the publishing world and between the book trade and the state. In tracing the contest over literary production in France, Haynes emphasizes the role of the Second Empire in enacting—but also in limiting—press freedom and literary property.

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Modes of Production of Victorian Novels
N. N. Feltes
University of Chicago Press, 1986
In this sophisticated application of modern Marxist thought, N. N. Feltes demonstrates the determining influence of nineteenth-century publishing practices on the Victorian novel. His dialectical analysis leads to a comprehensive explanation of the development of capitalist novel production into the twentieth century.

Feltes focuses on five English novels: Dickens's Pickwick Papers, Thackeray's Henry Esmond, Eliot's Middlemarch, Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and Forster's Howards End. Published at approximately twenty year intervals between 1836 and 1920, they each represent a different first-publication format: part-issue, three-volume, bimonthly, magazine-serial, and single-volume. Drawing on publishing, economic, and literary history, Feltes offers a broad, synthetic explanation of the relationship between the production and format of each novel, and the way in which these determine, in the last instance, the ideology of the text.

Modes of Production in Victorian Novels provides a Marxist structuralist analysis of historical events and practices described elsewhere only empirically, and traces their relationship to literary texts which have been analyzed only idealistically, thus setting these familiar works firmly and perhaps permanently into a framework of historic materialism.

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Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna and the Social World of Florentine Printing, ca. 1470–1493
Lorenz Böninger
Harvard University Press, 2021

A new history of one of the foremost printers of the Renaissance explores how the Age of Print came to Italy.

Lorenz Böninger offers a fresh history of the birth of print in Italy through the story of one of its most important figures, Niccolò di Lorenzo della Magna. After having worked for several years for a judicial court in Florence, Niccolò established his business there and published a number of influential books. Among these were Marsilio Ficino’s De christiana religione, Leon Battista Alberti’s De re aedificatoria, Cristoforo Landino’s commentaries on Dante’s Commedia, and Francesco Berlinghieri’s Septe giornate della geographia. Many of these books were printed in vernacular Italian.

Despite his prominence, Niccolò has remained an enigma. A meticulous historical detective, Böninger pieces together the thorough portrait that scholars have been missing. In doing so, he illuminates not only Niccolò’s life but also the Italian printing revolution generally. Combining Renaissance studies’ traditional attention to bibliographic and textual concerns with a broader social and economic history of printing in Renaissance Italy, Böninger provides an unparalleled view of the business of printing in its earliest years. The story of Niccolò di Lorenzo furnishes a host of new insights into the legal issues that printers confronted, the working conditions in printshops, and the political forces that both encouraged and constrained the publication and dissemination of texts.

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No Ordinary Joe
A Life of Joseph Pulitzer III
Daniel W. Pfaff
University of Missouri Press, 2005
The widely known Pulitzer name is considered by many to be synonymous with the Pulitzer Prizes and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Joseph Pulitzer III (1913–1993) was editor and publisher of the Post-Dispatch, as were his father and grandfather before him. In No Ordinary Joe, Daniel W. Pfaff provides an insightful look at the life and career of Joseph Pulitzer III, using correspondence and records that were made available exclusively to the author. Pfaff also includes interviews with more than seventy individuals who knew and/or worked with Pulitzer.
Trained for succession to the Pulitzer media empire by his father, Joseph Pulitzer III strove above all to maintain the paper’s liberal/reformist philosophy profitably practiced since 1878 by his predecessors. When other newspapers began blurring the boundary between news and entertainment as a way of keeping and attracting readers and advertisers, Pulitzer resisted letting the Post-Dispatch put profit motives ahead of journalistic independence. When Pulitzer died in 1993, he had managed to sustain the Post-Dispatch’s distinguished tradition of editorial independence, and he left behind a company that was substantially larger and more competitive than when he took charge thirty-eight years before.
In addition to his work with the Post-Dispatch, Pulitzer was the head of the Pulitzer Publishing Company from 1955 to 1993. He also served as chairman of the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University for thirty-one years. The board, which had been established by his grandfather, was responsible for awarding the coveted annual prizes in journalism, letters, and music.
As much as Pulitzer was known for his affiliation with the Post-Dispatch, he was also known for his collection of contemporary art, regarded as one of the largest and finest in the world. He was known, too, for the stately way in which he carried himself, for his elegant attire, and for his impeccable taste and manners.
This remarkable biography will be of interest to scholars of journalism and media history and American history generally, as well as those interested in the tribulations of family businesses. It will also appeal to cultural historians and general readers, who will be interested in how this bearer of a widely known name handled the power, responsibility, and privilege of the position into which he was born.
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Painting and Publishing as Cultural Industries
The Fabric of Creativity in the Dutch Republic, 1580-1800
Claartje Rasterhoff
Amsterdam University Press, 2017
The Dutch Republic was a cultural powerhouse in the modern era, producing lasting masterpieces in painting and publishing, and in the process transforming those fields from modest trades to booming industries. This book asks the question of how such a small nation could become such a major player in those fields. Claartje Rasterhoff shows how industrial organisations played a role in shaping patterns of growth and innovations. As early modern Dutch cultural industries were concentrated geographically, highly networked, and institutionally embedded, they were able to reduce uncertainty in the marketplace and stimulate the commercial and creative potential of painters and publishers-though those successes eventually came up against the limits of a saturated domestic market and an aversion to risk on the part of producers that ultimately brought an end to the boom.
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Paradoxes of Prosperity
Wealth Seeking in Pre-Civil War America
Lorman A. Ratner, Paula T. Kaufman and Dwight L. Teeter Jr.
University of Illinois Press, 2008
In the midst of the United States' immense economic growth in the 1850s, Americans worried about whether the booming agricultural, industrial, and commercial expansion came at the price of cherished American values such as honesty, hard work, and dedication to the common good. Was the nation becoming greedy, selfish, vulgar, and cruel? Was there such a thing as too much prosperity?

At the same time, the United States felt the influence of the rise of popular mass-circulation newspapers and magazines and the surge in American book publishing. Concern over living correctly as well as prosperously was commonly discussed by leading authors and journalists, who were now writing for ever-expanding regional and national audiences. Women became more important as authors and editors, giving advice and building huge markets for women readers, with the magazine Godey's Lady's Book and novels by Susan Warner, Maria Cummins, and Harriet Beecher Stowe expressing women's views about the troubled state of society. Best-selling male writers--including novelist George Lippard, historian George Bancroft, and travel writer Bayard Taylor--were among those adding their voices to concerns about prosperity and morality and about America's place in the world. Writers and publishers discovered that a high moral tone could be exceedingly good for business.

The authors of this book examine how popular writers and widely read newspapers, magazines, and books expressed social tensions between prosperity and morality. This study draws on that nationwide conversation through leading mass media, including circulation-leading newspapers, the New York Herald and the New York Tribune, plus prominent newspapers from the South and West, the Richmond Enquirer and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Best-selling magazines aimed at middle-class tastes, Harper's Magazine and the Southern Literary Messenger, added their voices, as did two leading business magazines.

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Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing
The Illustrated Gift Book and Victorian Visual Culture, 1855–1875
Lorraine Janzen Kooistra
Ohio University Press, 2011

In Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing eminent Rossetti scholar Lorraine Janzen Kooistra demonstrates the cultural centrality of a neglected artifact: the Victorian illustrated gift book. Turning a critical lens on “drawing-room books” as both material objects and historical events, Kooistra reveals how the gift book’s visual/verbal form mediated “high” and popular art as well as book and periodical publication.

A composite text produced by many makers, the poetic gift book was designed for domestic space and a female audience; its mode of publication marks a significant moment in the history of authorship, reading, and publishing. With rigorous attention to the gift book’s aesthetic and ideological features, Kooistra analyzes the contributions of poets, artists, engravers, publishers, and readers and shows how its material form moved poetry into popular culture. Drawing on archival and periodical research, she offers new readings of Eliza Cook, Adelaide Procter, and Jean Ingelow and shows the transatlantic reach of their verses. Boldly resituating Tennyson’s works within the gift-book economy he dominated, Kooistra demonstrates how the conditions of corporate authorship shaped the production and receptionof the laureate’s verses at the peak of his popularity.

Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing changes the map of poetry’s place—in all its senses—in Victorian everyday life and consumer culture.

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The Polish Hearst
Ameryka-Echo and the Public Role of the Immigrant Press
Anna D. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann
University of Illinois Press, 2015
Arriving in the U.S. in 1883, Antoni A. Paryski climbed from typesetter to newspaper publisher in Toledo, Ohio. His weekly Ameryka-Echo became a defining publication in the international Polish diaspora and its much-read letters section a public sphere for immigrants to come together as a community to discuss issues in their own language.

Anna D. Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann mines seven decades' worth of thoughts expressed by Ameryka-Echo readers to chronicle the ethnic press's role in the immigrant experience. Open and unedited debate harkened back to homegrown journalistic traditions, and Jaroszyńska-Kirchmann opens up the nuances of an editorial philosophy that cultivated readers as content creators. As she shows, ethnic publications in the process forged immigrant social networks and pushed notions of education and self-improvement throughout Polonia. Paryski, meanwhile, built a publishing empire that earned him the nickname ""The Polish Hearst.""

Detailed and incisive, The Polish Hearst opens the door on the long-overlooked world of ethnic publishing and the amazing life of one of its towering figures.

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Printing Landmarks
Popular Geography and Meisho Zue in Late Tokugawa Japan
Robert Goree
Harvard University Press, 2020

Printing Landmarks tells the story of the late Tokugawa period’s most distinctive form of popular geography: meisho zue. Beginning with the publication of Miyako meisho zue in 1780, these monumental books deployed lovingly detailed illustrations and informative prose to showcase famous places (meisho) in ways that transcended the limited scope, quality, and reliability of earlier guidebooks and gazetteers. Putting into spellbinding print countless landmarks of cultural significance, the makers of meisho zue created an opportunity for readers to experience places located all over the Japanese archipelago.

In this groundbreaking multidisciplinary study, Robert Goree draws on diverse archival and scholarly sources to explore why meisho zue enjoyed widespread and enduring popularity. Examining their readership, compilation practices, illustration techniques, cartographic properties, ideological import, and production networks, Goree finds that the appeal of the books, far from accidental, resulted from specific choices editors and illustrators made about form, content, and process. Spanning the fields of book history, travel literature, map history, and visual culture, Printing Landmarks provides a new perspective on Tokugawa-period culture by showing how meisho zue depicted inspiring geographies in which social harmony, economic prosperity, and natural stability made for a peaceful polity.

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Prophets, Publicists, and Parasites
Antebellum Print Culture and the Rise of the Critic
Adam Gordon
University of Massachusetts Press, 2020
Print culture expanded significantly in the nineteenth century due to new print technologies and more efficient distribution methods, providing literary critics, who were alternately celebrated and reviled, with an ever-increasing number of venues to publish their work. Adam Gordon embraces the multiplicity of critique in the period from 1830 to 1860 by exploring the critical forms that emerged. Prophets, Publicists, and Parasites is organized around these sometimes chaotic and often generative forms and their most famous practitioners: Edgar Allan Poe and the magazine review; Ralph Waldo Emerson and the quarterly essay; Rufus Wilmot Griswold and the literary anthology; Margaret Fuller and the newspaper book review; and Frederick Douglass's editorial repurposing of criticism from other sources. Revealing the many and frequently competing uses of criticism beyond evaluation and aesthetics, this insightful study offers a new vision of antebellum criticism, a new model of critical history, and a powerful argument for the centrality of literary criticism to modern life.
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A Publisher's Paradise
Expatriate Literary Culture in Paris, 1890-1960
Colette Colligan
University of Massachusetts Press, 2013
From 1890 to 1960, some of Anglo-America's most heated cultural contests over books, sex, and censorship were staged not at home, but abroad in the City of Light. Paris, with its extraordinary liberties of expression, became a special place for interrogating the margins of sexual culture and literary censorship, and a wide variety of English language "dirty books" circulated through loose expatriate publishing and distribution networks.

A Publisher's Paradise explores the political and literary dynamics that gave rise to this expatriate cultural flourishing, which included everything from Victorian pornography to the most daring and controversial modernist classics. Colette Colligan tracks the British and French politicians and diplomats who policed Paris editions of banned books and uncovers offshore networks of publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers. She looks closely at the stories the "dirty books" told about this publishing haven and the smut peddlers and literary giants it brought together in transnational cultural formations. The book profiles an eclectic group of expatriates living and publishing in Paris, from relatively obscure figures such as Charles Carrington, whose list included both The Picture of Dorian Gray and the pornographic novel Randiana, to bookshop owner Sylvia Beach, famous for publishing James Joyce's Ulysses in 1922.

A Publisher's Paradise is a compelling exploration of the little-known history of foreign pornography in Paris and the central role it played in turning the city into a modernist outpost for literary and sexual vanguardism, a reputation that still lingers today in our cultural myths of midnight in Paris.
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Publishing Women
Salons, the Presses, and the Counter-Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Italy
Diana Robin
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Even the most comprehensive Renaissance histories have neglected the vibrant groups of women writers that emerged in cities across Italy during the mid-1500s—and the thriving network of printers, publishers, and agents that specialized in producing and selling their books. In Publishing Women, Diana Robin finally brings to life this story of women’s cultural and intellectual leadership in early modern Italy, illuminating the factors behind—and the significance of—their sudden dominance.

Focusing on the collective publication process, Robin portrays communities in Naples, Venice, Rome, Siena, and Florence, where women engaged in activities that ranged from establishing literary salons to promoting religious reform. Her innovative cultural history considers the significant roles these women played in tandem with men, rather than separated from them. In doing so, it collapses the borders between women’s history, Renaissance and Reformation studies, and book history to evoke a historical moment that catapulted women’s writings and women-sponsored books into the public sphere for the first time anywhere in Europe.

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Queer Between the Covers
Histories of Queer Publishing and Publishing Queer Voices
Edited by Leila Kassir and Richard Espley
University of London Press, 2021

Queer Between the Covers presents a history of radical queer publishing and literature from 1880 to the modern day. Chronicling the gay struggle for acceptance and liberation, the book demonstrates how the fight for representation was often waged between the covers of books in a world where spaces for queer expression were taboo. The chapters provide an array of voices and histories from the famous, Derek Jarman and Oscar Wilde, to the lesser known and underappreciated, such as John Wieners and Valerie Taylor. It includes firsthand accounts of seminal moments in queer history, including the birth of Hazard Press and the Defend Gay’s the Word Bookshop campaign in the 1980s.

Queer Between the Covers demonstrates the importance of the book and how the queer community could be brought together through shared literature. The works discussed show the imaginative and radical ways in which queer texts have fought against censorship and repression and could be used as a political tool for organization and production. This study follows key moments in queer literary history, from the powerful community wide demonstrations for Gay’s the Word during their battle with the British government, to the mapping of Chicago’s queer spaces within Valerie Taylor’s pulp novels, or the anonymous but likely shared authorship of the nineteenth century queer text Teleny. Queer publishing also often involved fascinating creative tactics for beating the censor, from the act of self-publishing to anonymous authorship as part of a so-called “cloaked resistance.” Collage and repurposing found images and texts were key practices for many queer publishers and authors, from Derek Jarman to the artworks created by the Hazard Press.

This is a fascinating and topical book on publishing history for those interested in how queer people throughout modernity have used literature as an important forum for self-expression and self-actualization when spaces and sites for queer expression were outlawed.  

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The Return of the Moguls
How Jeff Bezos and John Henry Are Remaking Newspapers for the Twenty-First Century
Dan Kennedy
University Press of New England, 2018
The Return of the Moguls chronicles an important story in the making, one that will affect more than just the newspaper business—it has the power to change democracy as we know it. Over the course of a generation, the story of the daily newspaper has been an unchecked slide from record profitability and readership to plummeting profits, increasing irrelevance, and inevitable obsolescence. The forces killing major dailies, alternative weeklies, and small-town shoppers are well understood—or seem obvious in hindsight, at least—and the catalog of publications that have gone under reads like a who’s who of American journalism. During the past half-century, old-style press barons gave way to a cabal of corporate interests unable or unwilling to invest in the future even as technological change was destroying their core business. The Taylor family sold the Boston Globe to the New York Times Company in 1993 for a cool $1.1 billion. Twenty years later, the Times Company resold it for just $70 million. The unexpected twist to the story, however, is not what they sold it for but who they sold it to: John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. A billionaire who made his money in the world of high finance, Henry inspired optimism in Boston because of his track record as a public-spirited business executive—and because his deep pockets seemed to ensure that the shrunken newspaper would not be subjected to further downsizing. In just a few days, the sale of the Globe was overtaken by much bigger news: Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the world’s richest people, had reached a deal to buy the Washington Post for $250 million. Henry’s ascension at the Globe sparked hope. Bezos’s purchase seemed to inspire nothing short of ecstasy, as numerous observers expressed the belief that his lofty status as one of our leading digital visionaries could help him solve the daunting financial problems facing the newspaper business. Though Bezos and Henry are the two most prominent individuals to enter the newspaper business, a third preceded them. Aaron Kushner, a greeting-card executive, acquired California’s Orange County Register in July 2012 and then pursued an audacious agenda, expanding coverage and hiring journalists in an era when nearly all other newspaper owners were trying to avoid cutting both. The newspaper business is at a perilous crossroads. This essential book explains why, and how today’s new crop of media moguls might help it to survive.
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Scholars, Poets and Radicals
Discovering Forgotten Lives in the Blackwell Collection
Rita Ricketts
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2015
The Blackwell Collections—the archive of the well-loved bookselling and publishing company—are full of surprises. There are warrior women no longer prepared to suffer the fate of a spellbound princess, scholarly apprentices giving themselves an Oxford education, and reluctant radicals publishing in protest against the authorities who sent so many to “certain death” in the Great War. Amid the many unknown authors the Blackwells published are famous names: J. R. R Tolkien, John Buchan, Wilfred Owen, John Betjeman, Dorothy L Sayers, Vera Brittain, Edith Sitwell, and Laurence Binyon, who is recollected whenever For the Fallen is read. But the memoirs, letters, and journals of “ordinary people” who worked for the family also deserve a hearing. The diary of Will King, a real-life Jude the Obscure, stands out. Its astonishing record of what he read and his mordant dissection of the texts amounts to a critique of English culture between 1910 and 1950. Together with the stories of three generations of B. H. Blackwells and their diverse associates, the book provides a panel of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history far beyond Oxford.
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Selling the Story
Transaction and Narrative Value in Balzac, Dostoevsky, and Zola
Jonathan Paine
Harvard University Press, 2019

A literary scholar and investment banker applies economic criticism to canonical novels, dramatically changing the way we read these classics and proposing a new model for how economics can inform literary analysis.

Every writer is a player in the marketplace for literature. Jonathan Paine locates the economics ingrained within the stories themselves, revealing how a text provides a record of its author’s attempt to sell the story to his or her readers.

An unusual literary scholar with a background in finance, Paine mines stories for evidence of the conditions of their production. Through his wholly original reading, Balzac’s The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans becomes a secret diary of its author’s struggles to cope with the commercializing influence of serial publication in newspapers. The Brothers Karamazov transforms into a story of Dostoevsky’s sequential bets with his readers, present and future, about how to write a novel. Zola’s Money documents the rise of big business and is itself a product of Zola’s own big business, his factory of novels.

Combining close readings with detailed analyses of the nineteenth-century publishing contexts in which prose fiction first became a product, Selling the Story shows how the business of literature affects even literary devices such as genre, plot, and repetition. Paine argues that no book can be properly understood without reference to its point of sale: the author’s knowledge of the market, of reader expectations, and of his or her own efforts to define and achieve literary value.

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Steam-Powered Knowledge
William Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860
Aileen Fyfe
University of Chicago Press, 2012

With the overwhelming amount of new information that bombards us each day, it is perhaps difficult to imagine a time when the widespread availability of the printed word was a novelty. In early nineteenth-century Britain, print was not novel—Gutenberg’s printing press had been around for nearly four centuries—but printed matter was still a rare and relatively expensive luxury. All this changed, however, as publishers began employing new technologies to astounding effect, mass-producing instructive and educational books and magazines and revolutionizing how knowledge was disseminated to the general public.

In Steam-Powered Knowledge, Aileen Fyfe explores the activities of William Chambers and the W. & R. Chambers publishing firm during its formative years, documenting for the first time how new technologies were integrated into existing business systems. Chambers was one of the first publishers to abandon traditional skills associated with hand printing, instead favoring the latest innovations in printing processes and machinery: machine-made paper, stereotyping, and, especially, printing machines driven by steam power. The mid-nineteenth century also witnessed dramatic advances in transportation, and Chambers used proliferating railway networks and steamship routes to speed up communication and distribution. As a result, his high-tech publishing firm became an exemplar of commercial success by 1850 and outlived all of its rivals in the business of cheap instructive print. Fyfe follows Chambers’s journey from small-time bookseller and self-trained hand-press printer to wealthy and successful publisher of popular educational books on both sides of the Atlantic, demonstrating along the way the profound effects of his and his fellow publishers’ willingness, or unwillingness, to incorporate these technological innovations into their businesses.
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Taking Books to the World
American Publishers and the Cultural Cold War
Amanda Laugesen
University of Massachusetts Press, 2017
Franklin Publications, or Franklin Book Programs, was started in 1952 as a form of cultural diplomacy. Until it folded in the 1970s, Franklin translated, printed, and distributed American books around the world, with offices in Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Although it was a private firm, Franklin received funding from the United States Information Agency. This was an ambitious and idealistic postwar effort that ultimately became the victim of shifting politics.

In Taking Books to the World, Amanda Laugesen tells the story of this purposeful enterprise, demonstrating the mix of goodwill and political drive behind its efforts to create modern book industries in developing countries. Examining the project through a clarifying lens, she reveals the ways Franklin's work aligned with cultural currents, exposing the imperial beliefs, charitable hopes, and intellectual reasoning behind this global experiment.
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This Book Is an Action
Feminist Print Culture and Activist Aesthetics
Edited by Jaime Harker and Cecilia Konchar Farr
University of Illinois Press, 2016
The Women's Liberation Movement held a foundational belief in the written word's power to incite social change. In this new collection, Jaime Harker and Cecilia Konchar Farr curate essays that reveal how second-wave feminists embraced this potential with a vengeance. The authors in This Book Is an Action investigate the dynamic print culture that emerged as the feminist movement reawakened in the late 1960s. The works created by women shined a light on taboo topics and offered inspiring accounts of personal transformation. Yet, as the essayists reveal, the texts represented something far greater: a distinct and influential American literary renaissance. On the one hand, feminists took control of the process by building a network of publishers and distributors owned and operated by women. On the other, women writers threw off convention to venture into radical and experimental forms, poetry, and genre storytelling, and in so doing created works that raised the consciousness of a generation. Examining feminist print culture from its structures and systems to defining texts by Margaret Atwood and Alice Walker, This Book Is an Action suggests untapped possibilities for the critical and aesthetic analysis of the diverse range of literary production during feminism's second wave.
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United States v. Apple
Competition in America
Chris Sagers
Harvard University Press, 2019

One of the most-followed antitrust cases of recent times—United States v. Apple—reveals an often-missed truth: what Americans most fear is competition itself.

In 2012 the Department of Justice accused Apple and five book publishers of conspiring to fix ebook prices. The evidence overwhelmingly showed an unadorned price-fixing conspiracy that cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet before, during, and after the trial millions of Americans sided with the defendants. Pundits on the left and right condemned the government for its decision to sue, decrying Amazon’s market share, railing against a new high-tech economy, and rallying to defend beloved authors and publishers. For many, Amazon was the one that should have been put on trial. But why? One fact went unrecognized and unreckoned with: in practice, Americans have long been ambivalent about competition.

Chris Sagers, a renowned antitrust expert, meticulously pulls apart the misunderstandings and exaggerations that industries as diverse as mom-and-pop grocers and producers of cast-iron sewer pipes have cited to justify colluding to forestall competition. In each of these cases, antitrust law, a time-honored vehicle to promote competition, is put on the defensive. Herein lies the real insight of United States v. Apple. If we desire competition as a policy, we must make peace with its sometimes rough consequences. As bruising as markets in their ordinary operation often seem, letting market forces play out has almost always benefited the consumer. United States v. Apple shows why supporting cases that protect price competition, even when doing so hurts some of us, is crucial if antitrust law is to protect and maintain markets.

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Voices of Fire
Reweaving the Literary Lei of Pele and Hi'iaka
ku'ualoha ho'omanawanui
University of Minnesota Press, 2014

Stories of the volcano goddess Pele and her youngest sister Hi‘iaka, patron of hula, are most familiar as a form of literary colonialism—first translated by missionary descendants and others, then co-opted by Hollywood and the tourist industry. But far from quaint tales for amusement, the Pele and Hi‘iaka literature published between the 1860s and 1930 carried coded political meaning for the Hawaiian people at a time of great upheaval. Voices of Fire recovers the lost and often-suppressed significance of this literature, restoring it to its primary place in Hawaiian culture.

Ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui takes up mo‘olelo (histories, stories, narratives), mele (poetry, songs), oli (chants), and hula (dances) as they were conveyed by dozens of authors over a tumultuous sixty-eight-year period characterized by population collapse, land alienation, economic exploitation, and military occupation. Her examination shows how the Pele and Hi‘iaka legends acted as a framework for a Native sense of community. Freeing the mo‘olelo and mele from colonial stereotypes and misappropriations, Voices of Fire establishes a literary mo‘okū‘auhau, or genealogy, that provides a view of the ancestral literature in its indigenous contexts.

The first book-length analysis of Pele and Hi‘iaka literature written by a Native Hawaiian scholar, Voices of Fire compellingly lays the groundwork for a larger conversation of Native American literary nationalism.

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What Editors Do
The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing
Edited by Peter Ginna
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Editing is an invisible art where the very best work goes undetected. Editors strive to create books that are enlightening, seamless, and pleasurable to read, all while giving credit to the author. This makes it all the more difficult to truly understand the range of roles they inhabit while shepherding a project from concept to publication.

In What Editors Do, Peter Ginna gathers essays from twenty-seven leading figures in book publishing about their work. Representing both large houses and small, and encompassing trade, textbook, academic, and children’s publishing, the contributors make the case for why editing remains a vital function to writers—and readers—everywhere.

Ironically for an industry built on words, there has been a scarcity of written guidance on how to actually approach the work of editing. This book will serve as a compendium of professional advice and will be a resource both for those entering the profession (or already in it) and for those outside publishing who seek an understanding of it. It sheds light on how editors acquire books, what constitutes a strong author-editor relationship, and the editor’s vital role at each stage of the publishing process—a role that extends far beyond marking up the author’s text.

This collection treats editing as both art and craft, and also as a career. It explores how editors balance passion against the economic realities of publishing. What Editors Do shows why, in the face of a rapidly changing publishing landscape, editors are more important than ever.
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