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Introduction

  • Joanna Maciulewicz
Chapter
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)

Abstract

This introductory chapter is an attempt to explain why eighteenth-century imaginative writing is a good source of evidence for the history of the book. Literature, as we understand it today, was a part of a largely “undisciplined” and inherently self-reflexive body of writing which frequently addressed the subjects of the materiality of writing and its contingency on the material context of its creation, circulation and reception. In its aspiration to explore the conditions of writing and reading, it resembled the inchoate criticism which sought to shape the emerging field of literary production. The chapter shows the initial conflation of literary and critical discourses, the process of the gradual autonomisation of criticism and the endurance of the critical spirit in imaginative writing which with the help of creative conventions offers comments on the effects of growing literacy, of the proliferation of print and the changing concepts of authorship, reading and patronage.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joanna Maciulewicz
    • 1
  1. 1.Adam Mickiewicz University in PoznańPoznańPoland

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