"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Books in Russia

Though reports of the future of the book as such have, for more than a decade, been pessimistic, there is no denying the importance of the book in shaping past history. Along comes a new book to demonstrate just that: Miranda Remnek, ed., The Space of the Book: Print Culture in the Russian Social Imagination (University of Toronto Press, 2011), 320pp.

About this book, the publisher tells us:
From the Enlightenment to the Internet age, reading practices in Russia have been shaped by factors such as artistic and cultural trends, economics, and state scrutiny. The Space of the Book provides the most comprehensive overview to date of salient topics in Russian print culture, in a volume that promises to become the leading introduction to current research in the field.
This collection features illustrated essays by premier Russian historians, literature specialists, and innovative younger scholars on topics including the influence of commerce, diversifying readerships, education and rural libraries, reception theory, and censorship. Miranda Remnek begins each chapter with an introduction on digital applications. Skilfully connecting multidisciplinary sources along broad historical continuum, The Space of the Book will be a valuable resource as the study of Russian print culture takes on new directions in a digitized world.
Though the whole volume looks fascinating, two chapters in particular may be of especial interest:
6. Reading Between the (Confessional) Lines: The Intersection of Old Believer Manuscript Books and Images with Print Cultures of Late Imperial Russia / by Kevin M. Kain (University of Wisconsin – Green Bay

7. The Moral Self in Russia’s Literary and Visual Cultures: The Late Imperial Era and Beyond / by Jeffrey P. Brooks (Johns Hopkins University)

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