Paper $15.00 ISBN: 9780943056340 Published August 2005

Book Use, Book Theory


Bradin Cormack and Carla Mazzio

Book Use, Book Theory
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Bradin Cormack and Carla Mazzio

Distributed for the University of Chicago Library

Designed by Joan Sommers
136 pages | 75 halftones | 9 x 11
Paper $15.00 ISBN: 9780943056340 Published August 2005
What might it mean to use books rather than read them?

This work examines the relationship between book use and forms of thought and theory in the early modern period. Drawing on legal, medical, religious, scientific and literary texts, and on how-to books on topics ranging from cooking, praying, and memorizing to socializing, surveying, and traveling, Bradin Cormack and Carla Mazzio explore how early books defined the conditions of their own use and in so doing imagined the social and theoretical significance of that use.

The volume addresses the material dimensions of the book in terms of the knowledge systems that informed them, looking not only to printed features such as title pages, tables, indexes and illustrations but also to the marginalia and other marks of use that actual readers and users left in and on their books. The authors argue that when books reflect on the uses they anticipate or ask of their readers, they tend to theorize their own forms. Book Use, Book Theory offers a fascinating approach to the history of the book and the history of theory as it emerged from textual practice.
Introduction: Use, Misuse and the Making of Book Theory, 1500-1700
I  Technologies of Use
    Making Books, Using Books
    Marking Books
    The Idea of the Book
II  Parts and Wholes: From Matter to Method
    Bookends: Preface and Errata
    Commonplace Thinking
    Case Thinking
III  The How-to Book
    How to Express Yourself
    How to Do Things
    How to Be Somebody
    How to Look After Yourself
    How to Find Your Way
IV  Dimensional Thinking
    Measuring Space
    Coordinating Time
    Toward Another Dimension
    Representing the Unseen
    Place, Time, Memory
V  Taking Liberties
    Collective Authority and the Encyclopedia
    Use and Abuse: Anatomy and Pornography
    Beyond the Book: Affect and Medium
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