Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 7
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Luck, Sarah Elizabeth Lamp, John William Craig, Annemieke and Coldwell-Neilson, Jo 2016. The book: production and participation. Library Review, Vol. 65, Issue. 1/2, p. 2.

    Magnússon, Sigurður Gylfi 2016. Views into the Fragments: An Approach from a Microhistorical Perspective. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Vol. 20, Issue. 1, p. 182.

    Knowles, James 2015. Politics and Political Culture in the Court Masque.

    Standaert, Nicolas 2015. Jean-François Foucquet's Contribution to the Establishment of Chinese Book Collections in European Libraries: Circulation of Chinese Books. Monumenta Serica, Vol. 63, Issue. 2, p. 361.

    Thomas, Evan 2014. Where the Difference Lies in Image-Text Studies. Reformation, Vol. 19, Issue. 1, p. 106.

    Throne, Jeremy 2014. Complexity and the Human Experience.

    Popp, Richard K. 2013. The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies.



  • DOI:
  • Published online: 04 October 2007

Having accepted the invitation to revisit my essay of 1982, “What Is the History of Books?”, I find that I can do it only in the first person singular and therefore must ask to be excused for indulging in some autobiographical detail. I would also like to make a disclaimer: in proposing a model for studying the history of books twenty-four years ago, I did not mean to tell book historians how they ought to do their jobs. I hoped that the model might be useful in a heuristic way and never thought of it as comparable to the models favored by economists, the kind in which you insert data, work it over, and arrive at a bottom line. (I do not believe that bottom lines exist in history.) It seemed to me in 1982 that the history of books was suffering from fissiparousness: experts were pursuing such specialized studies that they were losing contact with one another. The esoteric elements of book history needed to be integrated into an overview that would show how the parts could connect to form a whole—or what I characterized as a communications circuit. The tendency toward fragmentation and specialization still exists.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Modern Intellectual History
  • ISSN: 1479-2443
  • EISSN: 1479-2451
  • URL: /core/journals/modern-intellectual-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *