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The Book

Watch the video then read the materials for this section.

When you look at a book, you may see a cover and pages. However a book is ultimately about people. From the author, typesetter, and printer to publisher and reader, a book is much more than a physical object. It's an artifact that reflects the people, period, and places connected with the book.

In the article What is the History of Books?, Darnton (1982, 81) states that books

"refuse to be contained within the confines of a single discipline when treated as objects of study. Neither history nor literature nor economics nor sociology nor bibliography can do justice to all the aspects of the life of a book. By its very nature, therefore, the history of books must be international in scale and interdisciplinary in method."

Explore each of the following areas in this section of the course.


Darnton, Robert (Summer 1982). What is the history of books? Daedalus, 111, 65-83.

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