Used Books Marking Readers in Renaissance England Material

Used Books Marking Readers in Renaissance England Material Texts In a recent sale catalog one bookseller apologized for the condition of a sixteenth century volume as rather soiled by use When the book was displayed the next year the exhibition catalogue described it as well and piously used with marginal notations in an Elizabethan hand that bring to life an early and earnest owner; and the book's buyer for his part considered it to be enlivened by the marginal notes and comments For this collector as for an increasing number of cultural historians and historians of the book a marked up copy was interesting than one in pristine conditionWilliam H Sherman recovers a culture that took the phrase mark my words uite literally Books from the first two centuries of printing are full of marginalia and other signs of engagement and use such as customized bindings traces of food and drink penmanship exercises and doodles These marks offer a vast archive of information about the lives of books and their place in the lives of their readersBased on a survey of thousands of early printed books Used Books describes what readers wrote in and around their books and what we can learn from these marks by using the tools of archaeologists as well as historians and literary critics The chapters address the place of book marking in schools and churches the use of the manicule the ubiuitous hand with pointing finger symbol the role played by women in information management the extraordinary commonplace book used for nearly sixty years by Renaissance England's greatest lawyer statesman and the attitudes toward annotated books among collectors and librarians from the Middle Ages to the presentThis wide ranging learned and often surprising book will make the marks of Renaissance readers visible and legible to scholars collectors and bibliophiles

5 thoughts on “Used Books Marking Readers in Renaissance England Material Texts

  1. Lauren Albert Lauren Albert says:

    I found most interesting the last section on the book market and how the way books are valued has changed Whereas books used to be most valued if they were unmarked and Renaissance texts were actually sometimes bleached to remove marginalia horrifyingly now collectors and of course scholars see the value in the marginalia Sherman points out that many of the notes in these early books had nothing to do with the books Since paper was so valuable people didn't waste empty space on any Overall an interesting look at what why and how people wrote in their books

  2. Angela Tenore Angela Tenore says:

    What can I say I am a history buff and let my nerd flag fly as I read this

  3. Jing Jing says:

    Amazing book; elouently explains my love of used books

  4. Jerzy Jerzy says:

    NR5 S553U in Hunt on 5th floor

  5. Ex Libris Ex Libris says:

    Relatively uninteresting for Sherman who has written several very good books notably his book on John Dee

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