"This magnificent reference work is a tribute to - and celebration of - a revolutionary invention ... a paradise for book-lovers."
In short: it is THE book about books. The Oxford Companion is a unique work of reference about all aspects of the book including traditional subjects such as bibliography, palaeography, the history of printing, editorial theory and practice, textual criticism, collecting, and libraries as well as new aspects and developments that have come up in recent decades with electronic publishing. The Oxford Companion does not only cover every imaginable book-related subject, it does not only trace those subjects in the history of the book from ancient times to the present day. No: This impressive two-volume work also pays particular attention to how different societies shape books and how books shape societies - throughout the world, from Europe and North America to the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
The editors Michael F. Suarez S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen have created a tremendous and most valuable reference book for scholars, librarians, archivists, collectors, general readers, libraries, and antiquarian booksellers, richly illustrated, with links and cross-references throughout the book, and both a general and classified index. Four hundred scholars have contributed to The Oxford Companion, submitting brilliant essays on specific subjects, among them: Craig Kallendorf, N.G. Wilson, Emile G. L. Schrijver, Lotte Hellinga, Christine Ferdinand, Peter L. Shillingsburg, Vincent Giroud, Reinhard Wittmann, Charlotte Appel, Karen Skovgaard-Petersen, David R. Whitesell, Ekaterina Rogatchevskaia, Andrew van der Vlies, Geoffrey Roper, Abhijit Gupta, J. S. Edgren, Shef Rogers, Maria Luisa López-Vidriereo, Eugenia Roldán Vera, M. Antoni J. Ücerler, and Ian Morrison.
“The result is an extraordinary tour de force, a cornucopia of bookish information”, says Noel Malcolm. “This is the perfect resource for anyone who is unsure of the difference between a hornbook and a battledore, a broadsheet and a broadside, or an inscribed copy and a book with an inscription; who wants to find out what an 'annual’ was for the Victorians, or an 'almanac’ for the Elizabethans; or who would just like to know who Simon and Schuster were, or Routledge and Kegan Paul.”
The first part contains a series of introductory essays which provide generic histories of the book ranging from writing systems, the ancient and the medieval book, to central aspects of book production. The second part covers the whole history of the book from A to Z in more than 5,000 entries, in brief definitions, biographical entries and more extensive treatments about:
- book genres of every kind including dictionaries, government documents, and music
- all aspects of the physical book
- individual bookbinders, paper-makers, typographers, type-founders, and designers
- authorship, including issues of attribution, authors' societies and communities, forgeries and hoaxes
- the entire reproduction process over the centuries (in both Asia and the West)
- engravers, illuminators, and illustrators
- manuscripts, scripts, and individual scribes and calligraphers
- individual books as examples of book history
- printers and publishers around the world
- book-trade organizations, and patronage
- distribution and sales: booksellers, book clubs, auction houses, advertising
- libraries and library systems, individual collectors, librarians, and professional associations
- suppression of the book, censorship and stamp acts, issues surrounding blasphemy and pornography
- scholarship: bibliography, editions, scholarly centres and organizations, numerous individual scholars in all parts of the world
- aspects of reading and reception, book societies and literary prizes
- periodicals encompassing literary, professional and trade, scholarly and bibliophile interests
The World's Best Books about Books
Michael Suarez S.J. and H. W. Woudhuysen’s Companion to the Book is one of 70 works published between 2009 and 2012 which have been submitted to the 16th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography. The Prize worth 10.000 USD will be awarded on the occasion of the ILAB Congress in Paris in April 2014. Click here to view the full list of entries on the official website of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography.
Suarez is one of the world’s leading scholars of the history of the book and 18th century literature. He is Director of Rare Book School, Professor of English, University Professor, and Honorary Curator of Special Collections at the University of Virginia. Woudhuysen is Professor of English at University College London. He has edited The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse with David Norbrook and, with Katherine Duncan-Jones, Shakespeare’s Poems for the Arden Shakespeare third series.
You don’t know anything about the history of the book in Belarus, Ukraine, Sub-Saharan Africa, New Zealand, Austria, Italy or Canada? You want to learn more about mangas and the Codex Manesse, Eric Gill, édtion de tête, Schwabacher type, pulp fiction, Peter Rabbit, mezzotint, Matthäus Merian, woodcut illustration, the Chinese bibliophile Zheng Zhenduo or the German bibliophile Fedor von Zobeltitz? Browse The Oxford Companion to the Book and you will find more information about books than you would ever imagine to exist.
Michael F. Suarez, S.J. and H. R. Woudhuysen (Ed.): The Oxford Companion to the Book.
Edited by. 1,408 pp., numerous engravings photographs, drawings, and typographical features
>>> For more information visit the website of Oxford University Press
The series will continue next Thursday with Ray Howgego's "Encyclopedia of Exploration.