The Nature of the Book

Print and Knowledge in the Making

University of Chicago Press

In his exacting and often pioneering narrative, Johns chronicles the complexity of the craft, politics, and economies of printing and book publishing, with profiles of seminal individuals, discussion of the physiology of reading, and penetrating scrutiny of the rather shaky foundations of scientific, philosophical, and historical discourse.

In The Nature of the Book, Adrian Johns transports his readers back to early modern England and the cauldron of creative and commercial forces in which print culture was formed. His uncanny eye for detail allows us to visit booksellers’ shops and the Royal Society, paper manufactories and type foundries. We can eavesdrop on the often-bitter disputes between authors and printers, printers and booksellers, clerics and intellectuals as they debate and resolve the meaning and rights attached to the creation of ideas, their appearance in written form and then in print, and the opportunity to sell, buy, and read printed work. Johns focuses on the interplay between the scientific and print revolutions and on their roles, both complementary and antagonistic, in the production and dissemination of knowledge.

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