Early Modern Manuscript and Printed Book Studies

Bland, Mark
Date published: 
June 2006

Within the last ten years, there has been a distinct shift away from purely theoretical forms of critical enquiry towards the uses of material evidence in literary scholarship. This book responds to this change, providing an introduction to the language and concepts employed in book history and textual scholarship, as these pertain to early modern manuscripts and printed texts. Both forms of textual production are considered together, since the methods used to approach each one are similar. The author takes the reader through the process of examining early modern printed books and manuscripts as artefacts. Firstly, he explains how to look at such documents, how to describe them properly, and how to read their material signs. Secondly, he demonstrates how to use that information, together with an understanding of the processes of production and modification, as a tool for studying the transmission of literary documents. He also makes clear why such maters are important and the purposes to which such information is put.