Communications Revolutions: Writing a History of the Book for an Electronic Age

Robert A. Gross


When does an academic field begin? For the expanding specialty known as the history of the book, the landmarks are many:

Major publications: Elizabeth Eisenstein's The Printing Press as an Agent of Change and Robert Darnton's The Business of Enlightenment, both appearing in 1979.1

Intellectual centers: the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress (1977) and the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture at the American Antiquarian Society (1983).2

Encyclopedias and reference works: since the appearance in the 1980s of the multivolume Histoire de l’Edition, the French pioneer in the field, . . .

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