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 ...
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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Publishers Weekly, 1997-08-18 Manguel attests to reading's power to transform while tracing its 4000-year history. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1996-07-08 Reading, Manguel asserts in this encyclopedic and self-indulgent exploration, has such "a particular quality of privacy" that one "can transform a place by reading in it." An erudite yet entertaining conversation with the reader, Manguel's History ranges over languages and literatures from prebook ages to the present. The Argentine-born author, a translator and editor (The Dictionary of Imaginary Places), explains how, why and what we read. A book is not a mere object, he contends; whether read or listened to, a book may move emotions or change minds, a temptation that may prompt a translator not to be, in Dr. Johnson's phrase, "like his author" but to attempt "to excel him." Although there is a logic in the telling, and Manguel proceeds from the biology and psychology of reading and listening to a quirky history of books from the incised tablet to the computer screen, the narrative, like gossip, can be accessed anywhere. Manguel seemingly covers 6000 years of book-reading history, assisted by 140 woodcuts, drawings and photos. His history is not for every reader's palate, yet every reader who regrets the omission of a favorite story about reading will attest thereby to the book's many delights. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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