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Volume 4 of The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain covers the years between the incorporation of the Stationers' Company in 1557 and the lapsing of the Licensing Act in 1695. In a period marked by deep religious divisions, civil war and the uneasy settlement of the Restoration, printed texts - important as they were for disseminating religious and political ideas, both heterodox and state approved - interacted with oral and manuscript cultures. These years saw a growth in reading publics, from the developing mass market in almanacs, ABCs, chapbooks, ballads and news, to works of instruction and leisure. Atlases, maps and travel literature overlapped with the popular market but were also part of the project of empire. Alongside the creation of a literary canon and the establishment of literary publishing there was a tradition of dissenting publishing, while women's writing and reading became increasingly visible.
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'The bibliography is extensive and detailed, and the index comprehensive and thorough. ... here we have, naturally in book form, a major scholarly survey of just about every aspect of the book, commercial, physical and intellectual.' Reference Reviews
'... this fourth volume of the The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain will be a constant source of information and a stimulus to further thought: like its predecessor, it is a splendid achievement.' The Times Literary Supplement
'... the editors deserve congratulation for persuading so many eminent scholars to write to their strengths in such a pleasantly readable manner.' The Times Literary Supplement
'... the volume's range of scholarship is impressive. A rich group of illustrations ... add to the reader's understanding of the texts themselves ... must immediately become required reading for any student of early modern religion ... All the contributors, as well as Cambridge University Press, must be congratulated on this splendidly comprehensive volume ... it is a pleasure to read as well as an invaluable reference work.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History
'However, what this volume should do is encourage book historians out of their period and subject specialisms. It should also stimulate a broader acknowledgment of the importance of the book and the book trade.' Journal of the Printing Historical Society
'... our ... most heartfelt thanks go to Cambridge University Press for a 'Cambridge History' fully worthy of its distinguished predecessors.' The Book Collector
This volume focuses on the years between the incorporation of the Stationers' Company in 1557 and the lapsing of the Licensing Act in 1695. Comprising thirty-eight chapters, it looks at how printed texts interacted with oral and manuscript cultures in a time of religious divisions and civil war.
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