Elleke Boehmer, Rouven Kunstmann, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Asha Rogers (eds.), The Global Histories of Books: Methods and Practices (Palgrave, 2017)



This book is an edited volume of essays that showcases how books played a crucial role in making and materialising histories of travel, scientific exchanges, translation, and global markets from the late-eighteenth century to the present. While existing book historical practice is overly dependent on models of the local and the national, we suggest that approaching the book as a cross-region, travelling – and therefore global- object offers new approaches and methodologies for a study in global perspective. By thus studying the book in its transnational and inter-imperial, textual, inter-textual and material dimensions, this collection will highlight its key role in making possible a global imagination, shaped by networks of print material, readers, publishers and translators.

Series: New Directions in Book History


Introduction – Elleke Boehmer, Rouven Kunstmann, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Asha Rogers

Part 1: Colonial Networks

  • London’s Geographic Knowledge Network and the Anson Account (1748) – Katherine Parker
  • The Other Empire: Australian Books and American Publishers in the Late Nineteenth Century – David Carter
  • Reading by Chance in a World of Wandering Texts – Alexander Bubb

Part 2: Global Genres

  • ‘Read! Learn!’: Grobalisation and (G)localisation in Caribbean Textbook Publishing – Gail Low
  • Governing by the Book: Mediterranean Travel and Sanitary Prophylaxis in the Nineteenth-Century – Riccardo Liberatore
  • The Circle of Knowledge: Radical Commensurability and the Deaf Textbook – Hansun Hsiung

Part 3: Reading Relationships

  • ‘Bringing Spring to Sahbai’s Rose-Garden’: Persian Printing in North India after 1857 – Zahra Shah
  • Reading The Discovery of India in the Library of an Australian Prime Minister – Sybil Nolan

Part 4: Cultural Translation

  • Bustānī’s Iliad and Imperialism in the Middle East – Evelyn Richardson
  • ‘The Narcissism of Small Differences’: Plagiarism in South African Letters – Kate Highman
  • The Fear of Solitude: How Marketing Makes Real Magic – Ben Holgate

Afterword – Elleke Boehmer

Elleke Boehmer is Professor of World Literature in English, in the English Faculty at the University of Oxford, UK, and Director of TORCH. Her most recent monograph, Indian Arrivals 1870-1915, won the ESSE 2016 prize for Literature in English. Her novels include Nile Baby (2008), and The Shouting in the Dark (2015, long-listed Barry Ronge-Sunday Times prize).

Rouven Kunstmann is a doctoral researcher in History at the University of Oxford, UK. He focuses on print cultures, nationalism, decolonisation and photography in West Africa as global and local information circulation. His work has been recently published in Social Dynamics: A Journal of African Studies.

Priyasha Mukhopadhyay is a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, USA. Her research interests include the history of the colonial and postcolonial book, South Asian literatures, and theories of the archive. 

Asha Rogers is Lecturer in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature at the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her research interests include postcolonial literatures, the Cold War and decolonisation, and the interfaces between state cultural institutions and literature.

Elleke Boehmer, University of Oxford

Alexander Bubb, Roehampton University

David Carter, University of Queensland

Kate Highman, University of the Western Cape

Ben Holgate, University of York

Hansun Hsiung, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Rouven Kunstmann, University of Oxford

Riccardo Liberatore, University of Oxford

Gail Low, University of Dundee

Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Harvard University

Sybil Nolan, University of Melbourne

Katherine Parker, Hakluyt Society

Evelyn Richardson, University of Chicago

Asha Rogers, University of Birmingham

Zahra Shah, University of Oxford

28 August 2017 | 334 PAGES | HARDBACK | PALGRAVE

ISBN: 978-3-319-51334-8