Speaking Volumes

Books with Histories

English language

Published Jan. 6, 2022 by Bodleian Library.

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A fascinating catalog that analyzes books as historical objects.

Scholars increasingly recognize that the cultural and research value of books lies not just in their printed contents, but in their value as historical artifacts. An individual book can tell us many things about the ways books have been used, read, and regarded throughout the years.   Within these pages, you will find books damaged by bullets or graffiti, recovered from fire or water, or even disguised as completely different texts for protection in dangerous times. Marks of ownership—be it a rich treasure binding or a humble family inscription—shine a light on social history and literacy, while student doodles from the sixteenth century and a variety of pithy annotations give us a sense of readers through the ages.

Generously illustrated with examples from the early Middle Ages to the present day, Speaking Volumes presents a fascinating selection of books in both public …

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