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Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Material Texts) Hardcover – 1 Dec 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (1 Dec. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081224043X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812240436
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,232,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Learned and lively. . . . The first comprehensive account of the ways of readers in the last age when books held, or seemed to hold, the answers to all of the most profound questions."--Anthony Grafton, "Bookforum"

"Sherman's work is indispensable, offering and demanding a complete revision of standard notions of reading in favor of a much more capacious concept of the 'use' of books before the modern era . . . . An essential book."--Stephen Orgel, Stanford University

"An engrossing book about the traces readers leave behind: the underlining, the ticks and crosses and sketches of flowers, the cutup pages, the red-silk stitching, the heckling commentaries. . . . A generous book about marvelous particulars."--"TLS"

"Sherman's work is indispensable, offering and demanding a complete revision of standard notions of reading in favor of a much more capacious concept of the 'use' of books before the modern era. . . . An essential book."--Stephen Orgel

"Learned and lively. . . . The first comprehensive account of the ways of readers in the last age when books held, or seemed to hold, the answers to all of the most profound questions."--Anthony Grafton, "Bookforum"

"A very fine collection of essays that will prove invaluable to scholars, librarians, and book collectors. . . . This book can be read for pleasure, but it is primarily a learned, thoughtful, and theoretically adept examination of the evidence of reading and readers found in surviving English books of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries."--"American Historical Review"

"A very fine collection of essays that will prove invaluable to scholars, librarians, and book collectors. . . . This book can be read for pleasure, but it is primarily a learned, thoughtful, and theoretically adept examination of the evidence of reading and readers found in surviving English books of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries." "American Historical Review""

"An engrossing book about the traces readers leave behind: the underlining, the ticks and crosses and sketches of flowers, the cutup pages, the red-silk stitching, the heckling commentaries. . . . A generous book about marvelous particulars." "TLS""

"Sherman's work is indispensable, offering and demanding a complete revision of standard notions of reading in favor of a much more capacious concept of the 'use' of books before the modern era. . . . An essential book." Stephen Orgel"

"Learned and lively. . . . The first comprehensive account of the ways of readers in the last age when books held, or seemed to hold, the answers to all of the most profound questions." Anthony Grafton, "Bookforum""

About the Author

William H. Sherman is Professor of English at the University of York. He is the author of John Dee: The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance and coeditor of "The Tempest" and Its Travels, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book, covering a little-discussed element of scholarship. The amount of information that can be gleaned from comments and marks in the margins is just incredible and I would thoroughly recommend this book for students of history, book lovers and students of 'book culture'. This book will give you a whole new perspective on things you previously dismissed as scribbles and bring an extra dimension to your appreciation of old books. Buy it!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x90b54804) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90b5a39c) out of 5 stars Amazing History of Books, Readers, and Margin Notes 31 May 2013
By K. Southall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a shill 5 star review, I purchased the book, read it, and frankly LOVE it.
It is an amazing history of Renaissance reading habits. We are so used to modern patterns of literacy that we may assume that people in the past read like us, but this is not so. Books in the past were *used* far more often than today. By used I mean this quite literally, books were used as physical objects and knowledge intermediaries, and handled with an extreme physicality in attempts to extract information from them, and then to synthesize new information

Many of our modern punctuation marks have an amazing back history to them and some of their history includes being used as marginalia to highlight, remark on, call attention to, or assist in the processing of information in books which once were copiously marked on.

In the Renaissance and early modern period used books were not only more precious in a way than today but their degree of being marked up, scribbled in, and annotated actually increased their living value for book readers and collectors because they helped transfer the accumulated knowledge of a previous reader to a new one. Annotation of one's personal books is a secret of literary power that you find in the lives of power readers even up to very recent times (as noted in books from the libraries of men like T.S. Eliot in the 20th century, or Thomas Jefferson in the 18th century, and many others whose annotations give remarkable insights into these men's thoughts and habits)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x90ce9450) out of 5 stars A Great Romp 24 Nov. 2012
By Roger A. Stritmatter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great romp through the libraries of the past. There is no doubt that William H. Sherman is on the cutting edge of the study of early modern literary culture. Starting from the elemental question of what it means to "make one's mark," Sherman tells the early modern story of readers who "made their marks" on the books they read. I find this book to be essential reading for my own research.
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