Reading Books and Prints as Cultural Objects

  • Evanghelia Stead

Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Evanghelia Stead
    Pages 1-30
  3. Manuscripts as Cultural Objects

  4. Prints in Europe

  5. Printed Books: Media, Objects, Uses

  6. Epilogue

  7. Back Matter
    Pages 279-317

About this book


‘This volume is both original and useful.  Whilst each of the essays in and of itself offers new research, the volume taken as a whole is a substantial contribution to book, image, and media history.  It deliberately disrupts the idea of a unified field, demonstrating how both books and prints (sometimes combined within the same volume) act as agents between cultures.‘ 

Kate Flint, Provost Professor of Art History and English, University of Southern California, USA

‘Rather than ask the old questions, ‘what is a book’ or ‘what is a print’, Stead and her collaborators want to know: what has been the use of this text-bearing object? What does it do? Applying those queries to all manner of media – made, found, used, and re-purposed – this new approach dissolves (and complicates) the distinction between the material and textual aspects of what we read, and encourages methodologies that cross the boundaries of discipline.’ 

Leslie Howsam, Emerita Distinguished University Professor, University of Windsor, Canada

This book contributes significantly to book, image and media studies from an interdisciplinary, comparative point of view. Its broad perspective spans medieval manuscripts to e-readers. Inventive methodology offers numerous insights into visual, manuscript and print culture: material objects relate to meaning and reading processes; images and texts are examined in varied associations; the symbolic, representational and cultural agency of books and prints is brought forward.

An introduction substantiates methods and approaches, ten chapters follow along media lines: from manuscripts to prints, printed books, and e-readers. Eleven contributors from six countries challenge the idea of a unified field, revealing the role of books and prints in transformation and circulation between varying cultural trends, ‘high’ and ‘low’. Mostly Europe-based, the collection offers book and print professionals, academics and graduates, models for future research, imaginatively combining material culture with archival data, cultural and reading theories with historical patterns.


Media studies Reading theory Culture theory manuscripts interdisciplinary book history

Editors and affiliations

  • Evanghelia Stead
    • 1
  1. 1.Université de Versailles Saint-QuentinGuyancourtFrance

Bibliographic information