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The Book as Expression of Author, Illustrator, or Editor's Work


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Books reflect an individual's thought at a particular point in time. However publication of a creator's work can be constrained by the laws and customs of the times. In the article What is the History of Books?, Darnton (1982, 67) described the author as the first element in the "communication circuit". He states that a communication circuit runs

"from the author to the publisher (if the bookseller does not assume that role), the printer, the shopper, the bookseller, and the reader. The reader completes the circuit, because he influences the author both before and after the act of composition. Authors are readers themselves. By reading and associating with other readers and writers, they form notions of genre and style and a general sense of the literary enterprise, which affects their texts, whether they are composing Shakespearean sonnets or directions for assembling radio kits."

According to Rose (1993), "the notion of author is a relatively recent formation, and, as a cultural formation, it is inseparable form the commodification of literature. The distinguishing characteristic of the modern author, I propose, is proprietorship; the author is conceived as the originator and therefore the owner of a special kind of commodity, the work."

This section of the course explores the book as an expression of the content creator. Explore each of the following pages in this section.

Resources

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