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Social Authorship and the Advent of Print Hardcover – 20 Aug 1999

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"A complex, nuanced portrait of English reading and writing during the Restoration and early eighteenth century... Ezell's deeply intelligent, challenging book will thus interest not only early modern specialists, but a more general readership concerned with issues of authorial identity and technological change." -- Marjorie Swann, Rocky Mountain Review

"Ezell's is a beautifully written and cogently argued study [and] an unqualified success." -- Scott Nixon, Early Modern Literary Studies

"Margaret Ezell's most recent book, Social Authorship and the Advent of Print, as her previous work, The Patriarch's Wife (1987) and Writing Women's Literary History (1993), is a revisionist literary history at its best." -- Zeynep Tenger, South Atlantic Review

"Ezell eloquently challenges her fellow scholars' equation, conscious or unconscious, of authorship with publication." -- Frederic D. Schwarz, Technology and Culture

"In concise yet detailed fashion, Ezell shows us how commercial print culture eclipsed its vibrant manuscript counterpart." -- Allison Fraiberg, College Literature

"Lucid and engaging in both style and argumentation." -- Gerald MacLean, Journal of English and Germanic Philology

"Opens a new chapter in our understanding of writing and print in the Early Modern Era." -- Nicholas Hudson, Eighteenth-Century Life

"Ezell's work has become the gold standard for responsible, revisionary literary historicizing in the early modern period... Her work is groundbreaking in the most refreshing and dynamic sense." -- Devoney Looser, South Central Review


"This is an important contribution to our knowledge of writing and publishing practices of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. As one has come to expect of Ezell, there is here a lot of new information dug out of sources that have been largely ignored, and there is a subtle redrawing of important outlines of literary history. And there is wit and style in the presentation. It is a splendid and important book." -- J. Paul Hunter, University of Chicago

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Brief but excellent 19 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Social authorship" -- publication by manuscript transmission, rather than via the printing press -- did not cease with the advent of print or even with the emergent capitalist literary economy of the 18th century. Instead, as Margaret Ezell demonstrates in splendidly researched and presented detail, many writers -- women, folk outside the metropolis, members of various social circles -- continued in the 18th century to eschew print. Perhaps the suprising chapter in this book is Ezell's discussion of "The Very Early Career of Alexander Pope," about Pope's habit of allowing his early poems to mature during several years of manuscript transmission (and revision) before committing them to print. Throughout, however, this is a remarkably readable and illuminating study.
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