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The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Makingby Adrian Johns
Synopses & Reviews
The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed an extraordinary transformation in British political, literary, and intellectual life. There was widespread social unrest, and debates raged regarding education, the lives of the working class, and the new industrial, machine-governed world. At the same time, modern science emerged in Europe in more or less its current form, as new disciplines and revolutionary concepts, including evolution and the vastness of geologic time, began to take shape.and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;
In Visions of Science, James A. Secord offers a new way to capture this unique moment of change. He explores seven key booksand#151;among them Charles Babbageand#8217;s Reflections on the Decline of Science, Charles Lyelland#8217;s Principles ofGeology, Mary Somervilleand#8217;s Connexion of the Physical Sciences, and Thomas Carlyleand#8217;s Sartor Resartusand#151;and shows how literature that reflects on the wider meaning of science can be revelatory when granted the kind of close reading usually reserved for fiction and poetry. These books considered the meanings of science and its place in modern life, looking to the future, coordinating and connecting the sciences, and forging knowledge that would be appropriate for the new age. Their aim was often philosophical, but Secord shows it was just as often imaginative, projective, and practical: to suggest not only how to think about the natural world but also to indicate modes of action and potential consequences in an era of unparalleled change. and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;
Visions of Science opens our eyes to how genteel ladies, working men, and the literary elite responded to these remarkable works. It reveals the importance of understanding the physical qualities of books and the key role of printers and publishers, from factories pouring out cheap compendia to fashionable publishing houses in Londonand#8217;s West End. Secordand#8217;s vivid account takes us to the heart of an information revolution that was to have profound consequences for the making of the modern world.
Book News Annotation:
Transports readers back to early modern England and the cauldron of creative and commercial forces in which print culture was formed, focusing on the interplay between the scientific and print revolutions and on their roles in the production and dissemination of knowledge. Looks at the culture and credibility of the printed book, the politics of printing, the mechanics of book production, and conflicts of intellectual property. Includes b&w illustrations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain, books of travel and exploration were much more than simply the printed experiences of intrepid authors. They were works of both artistry and industryandmdash;products of the complex, and often contested, relationships between authors and editors, publishers and printers. These books captivated the reading public and played a vital role in creating new geographical truths. In an age of global wonder and of expanding empires, there was no publisher more renowned for its travel books than the House of John Murray.
Drawing on detailed examination of the John Murray Archive of manuscripts, images, and the firmandrsquo;s correspondence with its many authorsandmdash;a list that included such illustrious explorers and scientists as Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell, and literary giants like Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scottandmdash;Travels into Print considers how journeys of exploration became published accounts and how travelers sought to demonstrate the faithfulness of their written testimony and to secure their personal credibility. This fascinating study in historical geography and book history takes modern readers on a journey into the nature of exploration, the production of authority in published travel narratives, and the creation of geographical authorshipandmdash;a journey bound together by the unifying force of a world-leading publisher.
Adrian Johns constructs an entirely original and vivid picture of print culture and its many arenas--commercial, intellectual, political, and individual. "The Nature of the Book" is a tour de force of cultural history. 125 halftones.
About the Author
James A. Secord is professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at Christand#8217;s College. He is the author of Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation," also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
A Note on Conventions
1: Introduction: The Book of Nature and the Nature of the Book
2: Literatory Life: The Culture and Credibility of the Printed Book in Early Modern London
3: "The Advancement of Wholesome Knowledge": The Politics of Print and the Practices of Propriety
4: John Streater and the Knights of the Galaxy: Republicanism, Natural Knowledge, and the Politics of Printing
5: Faust and the Pirates: The Cultural Construction of the Printing Revolution
6: The Physiology of Reading: Print and the Passions
7: Piracy and Usurpation: Natural Philosophy in the Restoration
8: Histories of the Heavens: John Flamsteed, Isaac Newton, and the Historia Coelestis Britannica
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