Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940, Jill Brett (202) 707-2905

July 12, 1993

Greenwood Press Book on Publishing in Revolutionary France and America

"Publishing and Readership in Revolutionary France and America," a scholarly monograph based on the proceedings of a 1989 international symposium sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and the Library's European Division, has been published by Greenwood Press. More than twenty scholars made presentions at the meeting, which was held at the Library of Congress on May 2-3, 1989. The book was edited by Carol Armbruster, French/Italian Area Specialist, European Division, who also wrote the introduction. John Y. Cole, director of the Center for the Book, contributed the foreword.

The symposium was organized to commemorate the bicentenary of the French Revolution, to recognize the work of scholars and other specialists in France and the United States who are studying the history of publishing and reading, and to contribute to the development of a comparative methodology in the international study of book history.

In her introduction, Armbruster notes the importance of Thomas Jefferson in the events of revolutionary France and America and in the founding of the Library of Congress. She describes the Jeffersonian impulse behind the development of the Library's international (especially its French) collections and characterizes the different approaches that French and Anglo- American scholars have taken to the study of the history of the book. Her emphasis is on how "symposium participants not only contributed to the study of the medium of print in the eighteenth century, but also revived the international exchange of ideas" that took place in this period.

The book is divided into four sections: Publishing as a Profession; Publishing and the Law; Reading; and Collecting and Using Materials. It includes papers from three French and nine American scholars. The French contributors are Daniel Roche ("Printing, Books, and Revolution"); Roger Chartier ("Book Markets and Reading in France at the End of the Old Regime"); and Henri-Jean Martin ("The French Revolution and Books: Cultural Break, Cultural Continuity"). The American scholars are Robert Darnton ("The Life Cycle of a Book: A Publishing History of D'Holbach's Systeme de la Nature"); Larzer Ziff ("A Silent Revolution: Benjamin Franklin and Print Culture"); Carla Hesse ("The Dilemmas of Republican Publishing, 1793-1799"); the Library of Congress's James Gilreath ("Government, Law, Public Opinion, and the Printed Word in Eighteenth Century America"); Jane C. Ginsburg ("A Tale of Two Copyrights: Literary Property in Revolutionary France and America"); Lynn Hunt ("Male and Female, Words and Images in the French Revolution"); David Hall ("The Politics of Writing and Reading in Eighteenth Century America"); Michael Warner ("Publication and the Public Sphere"); and Marcus A. McCorison ("Some Eighteenth Century American Book Collectors, Their Collections, and Their Legacies"). The volume includes a bibliography, notes about the contributors, and an index.

"Publishing and Readership in Revolutionary France and America: A Symposium at the Library of Congress Sponsored by the Center for the Book and the European Division," a 215-page book, is available in person from the Library of Congress Sales Shop, in bookstores, and directly from Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Box 5007, Westport, CT 06881. The ISSN number is 1041-2751 and the ISBN number is 0-313-28793-7. The price is $45.00.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, and libraries and to encourage the study of books and print culture. All of its projects, including the 1989 symposium on Publishing and Readership in Revolutionary France and America, are made possible by private, tax-deductible contributions from individuals and corporations. For further information, write the Center for the Book, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540.

# # #

PR 93-092
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top