While English-language students of book history and print culture have the tried and tested “Book History Reader” (eds. Finkelstein/McCleery, 2nd edition 2006) at their disposal, German-speaking students of Buchwissenschaft have so far not had access to a comparable collection of seminal texts. Thanks to a group of MA students of Buchwissenschaft at JGU Mainz in collaboration with Profs. Ute Schneider and Stephan Füssel at the Gutenberg Institute for World Literature and Written Media, this has now changed with the comprehensive reader Meilensteine buchwissenschaftlicher Forschung. Ein Reader zentraler Quellen und Materialien recently published by Harrassowitz in Wiesbaden.
The 437-page volume compiles
- 15 important international sources from the 15th to 20st centuries, e.g. the Piccolomini-letter dating back to 1455, which relates impressions about Gutenberg’s inventions as presented at Frankfurt Book Fair – in Latin and German; Giambattista Bodoni’s preface to the Manuale Tipografico; and Georg Joachim Göschen’s central text “Meine Gedanken über den Buchhandel und dessen Mängel”, 1802
- 6 texts considered central “impulses for book research”, e.g. by Henri-Jean Martin and Lucien Febvre, Paul Raabe, and Roger Chartier
- 7 articles delineating theories and models, e.g. by Donald F. McKenzie, Gérard Genette, Pierre Bourdieu, Aleida Assmann, Ulrich Saxer, and Robert Darnton
- 6 brief chapters about current areas of inquiry, e.g. by André Schiffrin, John P. Feather, and Robert Darnton
A highly engaged and motivated group of students at JGU Mainz discussed the selection of these texts and contributed to the editorial process. So in a way, though it is an entirely new publication, this essay collection already has the students’ seal of approval, having been prepared by current students for future students of Buchwissenschaft, book history, and print culture. On a metalevel and as a final note, this editorial process is certainly an interesting approach for practice-oriented teaching of students interested in a career in book history.
More information, incl. pricing etc., can be found on the publisher’s website.