This study of the history of reading goes from the earliest examples of the clay tablets and cuneiform of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt via the invention of printing in the 15th century to the birth of a mass reading public and today's digital revolution. It argues that it is the demands and expectations of the reader, acting alongside the creative will of the writer, that is the evolutionary motor of literary forms and genres. From man's first use of the written word simply as a form of reference, to the emergence of the first holy or devotional texts, and onto the development of fictions, both poetic and novelistic, this work aims to both challenge and enlighten.
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This wide-ranging and erudite exploration of the topic of reading is suffused with the spirit of Manguel's fellow Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges. Manguel takes us through the history of reading as if leading us room by room through the infinite library Borges constructed in one of his famous stories. Manguel's approach is not chronological, but thematic. His chapter topics jump from attempts to censor reading to the physical surroundings favored by readers, from the limitations of translations to the esotericism of books written for a restricted readership. Throughout he moves easily through time and geography to quote anecdotes and examples from diverse sources. Manguel's enthusiasm, and the impressive breadth of his reading, will make his readers eager to rush to the nearest library.About the Author:
Alberto Manguel is a writer, translator, and editor of international reputation; his many books include The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (with Gianni Guadalupi), the award-winning novel News From a Foreign Country Came, and the short story anthologies Black Water, The Gates of Paradise, and (with Craig Stephenson) In Another Part of the Forest. Born in Buenos Aires, Manguel has traveled extensively and is now a Canadian citizen.
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Book Description Viking, 1996. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Illustrated (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0002550067