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Month: March 2016

Naomi S. Baron. Words on Screen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World

Naomi S. Baron. Words on Screen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. vi, 304p. ISBN 9780199351765. US $24.95.

Book lovers have been worrying about the fate of reading in an age of computers since at least 1955, when the University of Chicago Library School convened a future-of-the-book conference under the shadow of cybernetics. In Words on Screen, Naomi S. Baron’s worries reside in the present (ca. 2014), and she addresses a general audience. SHARP members will be gratified to see the ways her book historicizes reading, writing, and information overload, making reference to Robert Darnton, Leah Price, Geoffrey Nunberg, Ann Blair, and others.

Greg Barnhisel. Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy

Greg Barnhisel. Cold War Modernists: Art, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. xii, 322p., ill. ISBN 9780231162302. US $40.00.

Cold War Modernists argues that modernist affirmations of aesthetic freedom and autonomy were appropriated by a variety of state agencies in the service of cultural diplomacy during the Cold War. With chapters focusing on painting, literature, journalism, and radio, Greg Barnhisel comprehensively chronicles this process, showing how the more subversive and radical components of the interwar avant-garde were deliberately suppressed, making modernism safe for the ideological purpose it would serve as a potent weapon in the cultural Cold War.

Guyda Armstrong. The English Boccaccio: A History in Books

Guyda Armstrong. The English Boccaccio: A History in Books. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 2013. xvi, 496p., with 16p. b&w plates. ISBN 9781442628779. CAD $42.95 (paperback).

Guyda Armstrong’s The English Boccaccio is a splendid example of what can be done with the biography of a text or, in this case, of a corpus of texts. Tracing the history of Boccaccio’s major and minor works as they have appeared in English, this book focuses on the material presentation of editions of those works and, in a series of case studies ranging from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, uses them to illuminate the wonderful diversity of ways in which Boccaccio was received in English (and occasionally in and via other languages as well) over a period of some five hundred years.