The Industrial Revolution of the Book: Cheap Print and New Readers
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm (AEST)
San Francisco, California, USA
London, United Kingdom
Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre of Bibliographical History, University of Essex, and fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge
Unlike the coming of print (woodblocks in second-century East Asia and thirteenth-century Europe; moveable type in eleventh-century China and fifteenth-century Europe), the second mechanized, industrial revolution in book production was experienced worldwide in one century. It was, nonetheless, hugely variable in its regional adoption and impact. This nineteenth-century transformation has been identified with publishing capitalism, and yet its history is many-faceted, with complicated antecedents. In Britain, Australia and, a little later, China, technological bravura led the revolution, its products sometimes dismissed as industrial literature. Thomas Carlyle in Britain and cultural pessimists around the globe denounced the new machinery as spitting out mechanised minds, devaluing literature and learning, and replacing craftsmanship (in writing as well as in publishing) by the robotic and the mass produced. The unprecedented cheapness of industrially printed materials encouraged more to read but also developed a greater sense of the indeterminacy and anonymity of the reading public.
This public lecture is part a conference from 22-24 April: Reading Communities and the Circulation of Print: Australia, China and Britain in the nineteenth century. Find out more about the conference
When & Where
The Australian National University
The Australian National University (ANU) is a celebrated place of intensive research, education and policy engagement. ANU is home to an interconnected community of scholars. The University is located in the heart of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.