Hardcover: 1408 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 8, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 12 x 5.2 x 9.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 11.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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This volume is a departure from the usual OUP "companion" format. The first volume consists largely of substantial essays on book-related essays, the remaining pages being given over to the more conventional dictionary format. It is also physically larger: two substantial quarto volumes that are lovely to look at but comparatively unwieldy to handle.The contents resemble some other less-useful companions in being decidedly academic in character. The professional specialties get extensive treatment, the notion of "book" is extended to cover material from the beginning of writing systems to the latest (as of a couple of years ago) in digital texts, and the prefatory essays give the history of the book global scope. There is less color and humor than one might hope for in a more companionable companion.If the entries are small, they are useful starting-points for investigations that will inevitably lead users to the internet where space is not an issue. In that respect the OUP has done the right and indeed a very clever thing in making a kind of ur-book out of this companion: as a physical object it is the state of the art in reference-book production with lovely typography, heavy paper, and binding that shouts "I am a book!"Indeed it is, and a timely book that fills a large gap in the shelf. No one does reference books better than OUP and they went al-out on this signature production. The price is steep but warranted by the quality of the product.
Two terrific tomes totaling 1,327 pages. The first 172 pages contain assorted essays on the physical development of the book. The next 271 pages consist of country-by-country histories of book publishing, distribution, related economic issues, etc. This section is justifiably Eurocentric and makes interesting reading. The final 884 pages comprise an alphabetic dictionary/encyclopedia of book terms, publishers, printers, collectors, booksellers, etc. This section generally does not include entries for individual authors (no Hemingway, Joyce, Milton, Dickens) but does mention a few names such as Jonson and Shakespeare with regard to their role in the history of the printed word. Likewise, specific literary works are not mentioned except for a handful of historical landmark publications.The books are of high quality, strongly bound, and, surprisingly, lay pleasurably open for reading. I rather wish the slipcase had been traditionally bookish...the publisher's tablecloth pattern would seem more at home among the cookbooks in the kitchen than in one's library. Perhaps a nice can of leather-brown spray paint...it's an old trick but it might just work.
Office desktop reference books can many times come across as spatially challenged ogres hogging slab space from more efficient Google accessible E-equipment. Not so with "The Oxford Companion to the Book," a compilation of the recorded word in all its forms and applications throughout history (1408 pages, Publisher: Oxford University Press).Ruminate on Hieroglyphics, Cuneiform Tablets, Papyrus, The Gutenberg Bible hot off the first press, and E-books infused directly in your computer or phone.This behemoth is a powerful and almost exhaustive work on the evolution and impact of the book. Over a million words contained in two volumes, this is a book of books and has numerous features that would blow away the swiftest fingers on the most commanding search engine.If you find words, books, manuscripts, tomes, hardbacks, paperbacks, literature, treatises, and the like irresistible, you will take great delight in this nearly comprehensive set.Topics incorporated within these two substantial hardbacks are:- The work of 400 scholars from over 25 countries- Information on fonts and print- Ancient and modern writing instruments- Etymology- Philology- Colophons- Odd and interesting finer points of literature and word assemblages.Vast, deep, this labor takes you where few men have been at one time in one place. Even with the wonderful new internet resources available and its large price tag--book lovers, scholars, literature buffs, and information freaks will not regret purchasing this magnificent book on books.The Necessary Existence of God: The Proof of Christianity Through Presuppositional Apologetics
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