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Bad Books: on the Value of Error and Imperfection


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In the digital age we have come to view books as fixed and stable when compared to apparently fluid and ephemeral electronic texts. However, the idea that Gutenberg’s printing press would abolish forever the kind of variation found in manuscript culture is overstated. Though mass-produced, books bear visible traces of how they were made, where they have been, and how they were used—and perhaps more obviously when they contain errors or imperfections. This talk will examine a number of apparently bad books from NUI Galway’s Special Collections, arguing that they possess a fruitful and productive individuality which allows us to better understand and appreciate their value, and the wider history of books.

Published in: Education
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Bad Books: on the Value of Error and Imperfection

  1. 1. Bad Books: on the Value of Error and Imperfection
  2. 2. Printing
  4. 4. Binding
  5. 5. Text
  6. 6. NYPL BL
  7. 7. NYPL BL
  8. 8. NYPL BL
  9. 9. NUIG NYPL BL 67 Iſ- / tria patriotrick Iſ- / tria patriotrick Iſtria patriotick 93 prince of prince fo prince of 357 Mariana Mariani Mariani
  10. 10. Thanks: Olivia Lardner Margo Donohue Margaret Hughes