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The Book As Artifact

Watch the video then read the materials for this section.

If you look carefully, books themselves provide clues about their purpose and use. For instance, small books are intended to be carried, while large folios are designed for tables or stands. Some books are carefully constructed of high quality materials and intended to be cherished for centuries, while others are ephemeral in nature only expected to last through a special event such as theatrical performance or royal coronation.

Which of the following books do you recognize? Book covers are just one of many tools that book historians use to study the book as an artifact.


Carl Spadoni (2007, 8) notes that book historians don't just describe books.

"He or she is a forensic historian of books. Books as physical artifacts can tell us an enormous amount in the same way that a crime scene is analysed by a detective or a corpse is subject to a coroner's inquest."

Let's explore the book as artifact. Explore each of the following pages in this section of the course:

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