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Recently published - The Oxford Companion to the Book

"This magnificent reference work is a tribute to - and celebration of - a revolutionary invention ... An extraordinary tour de force, a cornucopia of bookish information ... These volumes, then, are a paradise for book-lovers " (Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph).

Published on 08 Feb. 2010

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Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen


"This magnificent reference work is a tribute to - and celebration of - a revolutionary invention ... An extraordinary tour de force, a cornucopia of bookish information ... These volumes, then, are a paradise for book-lovers " (Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph).

THE book about books: “The Oxford Companion to the Book”, edited by Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen, is a unique work of reference about all aspects of the book, from ancient times to the present day. It includes traditional subjects such as bibliography, palaeography, the history of printing, editorial theory and practice, textual criticism, book collecting, and libraries as well as new aspects and developments in the history of the book that have come up with electronic publishing. The “Oxford Companion” pays particular attention to how different societies shape books and how books shape societies - throughout the world, from Europe and North America to the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The first part of this monumental two-volume “Companion” is a series of introductory essays which provide generic histories of the book ranging from writing systems, the ancient and the medieval book, through central aspects of book production, theories of text, editorial theory and textual criticism. The second part covers the whole history of the book from A to Z in more than 5,000 entries, in brief definitions, biographical entries and more extensive treatments about

- book genres of every kind including dictionaries, government documents, and music

- all aspects of the physical book

- individual bookbinders, paper-makers, typographers, type-founders, and designers

- authorship, including issues of attribution, authors' societies and communities, forgeriesand hoaxes

- the entire reproduction process over the centuries (in both Asia and the West)

- engravers, illuminators, and illustrators

- manuscripts, scripts, and individual scribes and calligraphers

- individual books as examples of book history

- printers and publishers around the world

- book-trade organizations, and patronage

- distribution and sales: booksellers, book clubs, auction houses, advertising

- libraries and library systems, individual collectors, librarians, and professional associations

- suppression of the book, censorship and stamp acts, issues surrounding blasphemy and pornography

- scholarship: bibliography, editions, scholarly centres and organizations, numerous individual scholars in all parts of the world

- aspects of reading and reception, book societies and literary prizes

- periodicals encompassing literary, professional and trade, scholarly and bibliophile interests


400 of the world's best scholars in bibliography and book history

have contributed to the “Oxford Companion”, among them: Craig Kallendorf, Texas A&M University (Ancient World and Renaissance Italy), N.G. Wilson, Lincoln College, Oxford (Greek and Byzantine World), Emile G. L. Schrijver, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Amsterdam University Library (Hebraica), Lotte Hellinga, Consortium of European Research Libraries (History and Future of Printing), A. S. G. Edwards, De Montfort University (Manuscripts, Collectors, Libraries, and the Book Trade), Christine Ferdinand, Magdalen College, Oxford (Britain 1501-1780), Peter L. Shillingsburg, Loyola University, Chicago (Britain 1780-1900), Vincent Giroud, Université de Franche-Comté (France), Reinhard Wittmann, University of Munich (Central Europe), Charlotte Appel, Roskilde University, Denmark, and Karen Skovgaard-Petersen, The Royal Library, Copenhagen (Nordic Countries), David R. Whitesell, Bibliographical Society of America (Spain, Portugal, Latin America), Ekaterina Rogatchevskaia, British Library, London (Slavonic and East European World), Andrew van der Vlies, University of Sheffield (Sub-Saharan Africa, the Contemporary and Postcolonial Book), Geoffrey Roper, Cambridge University Library (Muslim World), Abhijit Gupta, Jadavpur University, Kolkata (South Asia), J. S. Edgren, Princeton University (East Asia and Southeast Asia), Ian Morrison, State Library of Tasmania (Australia and New Zealand).

The editors Michael F. Suarez and H. R. Woudhuysen have created a tremendous and most valuable reference work for scholars, librarians, archivists, book collectors, general readers, libraries, and antiquarian booksellers. Richly illustrated, with links and cross-references throughout the book, a general and a classified index the “The Oxford Companion to the Book” will certainly become THE book about books. It is available in print and as an electronic edition.

The Oxford Companion to the Book. Edited by Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen. 1,408 pp., numerous engravings photographs, drawings, and typographical features

More information at Oxford University Press

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