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Tag: material culture

Caroline Wigginton. In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America

Caroline Wigginton. In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016. 240p., ill. ISBN 9781625342225. US$ 25.95.

In August 1749, Creek diplomat and trader Mary Bosomworth (also known as Coosaponakeesa) led a march of her tribesmen to Savannah. She had spent many years helping the English to establish a settlement in Georgia, and now she sought recompense for her services. Her march culminated in a meeting with Georgia’s council where she declared herself an “empress” representing her people. Bosomworth produced letters and petitions, but this scene of procession, spectacle, and conversation equally served as an embodiment of her authority and was meant to maintain her status within her neighborhood.

Coosaponakessa’s march is just one example from Caroline Wigginton’s ambitious In the Neighborhood. The book seeks to expand our understanding of early American women’s publications and to provide an analytical framework for them.

Lia Markey. Imagining the Americas in Medici Florence

Lia Markey. Imagining the Americas in Medici Florence. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2016. xvii, 241 p., ill. ISBN 9780271071152. $79.95 (hardcover).

The reader, upon opening this book, is greeted by a stunning array of 110 colour and black-and-white images, including many details, which exhibit the depth and breadth of primarily Florentine representations of the Americas during the first few decades of Euro-American contact. Organized into a series a nine case studies, each of which focuses on specific works of art and material culture that formed part of the collections created for or viewed by Cosimo de’ Medici’s sons (specifically from the onset of the ruler’s reign in 1537 to the end of his son’s reign in 1609), the book is framed by a brief introduction. The book thusly not only explores these artifacts originating from or made to represent the Americas, but it also meditates on the practices of collecting as well as the ways through which collections are encountered in this same cultural and historical moment.

Sandro Jung. James Thomson’s The Seasons, Print Culture, and Visual Interpretation, 1730-1842

Sandro Jung. James Thomson’s The Seasons, Print Culture, and Visual Interpretation, 1730-1842. Bethlehem: Lehigh University Press, 2015. Studies in Text and Print Culture. xxi, 287 p., ill. ISBN 9781611461916. US$ 80.00 (hardcover).

Published as the inaugural volume in the author’s series Studies in Text and Print Culture at Lehigh University Press, this interdisciplinary and profusely illustrated monograph sheds light on an iconographic corpus that is as broad as it is complex: visual representations of James Thomson’s poem The Seasons. Its critical perspective interweaves visual and material cultures, text-image relations, reading practices, and the history of the book, publishing, and art.

Jamie Kamph. Tricks of the Trade: Confessions of a Bookbinder. Kristina Lundblad. Bound to be Modern: Publishers’ Cloth Bindings and the Material Culture of the Book, 1840–1914

Jamie Kamph. Tricks of the Trade: Confessions of a Bookbinder. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2015. viii, 136p., ill. ISBN 9781584563341. US $24.95 (paperback).

Kristina Lundblad. Bound to be Modern: Publishers’ Cloth Bindings and the Material Culture of the Book, 1840–1914. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2015. 336p., ill. ISBN 9781584563136. US $95 (hardback).

Two recent publications from Oak Knoll Press highlight some of the wide range of writing currently on offer about bookbinding. Jamie Kamph is a practicing bookbinder, and Tricks of the Trade consists of 27 personal essays that focus on technical information intended for bookbinders, as well as observations on book decoration and a bit of autobiography. Kristina Lundblad’s Bound to be Modern, in contrast, is a wide-ranging academic overview of nineteenth-century Swedish publishers’ bindings.

James Daybell and Andrew Gordon, eds. Cultures of Correspondence in Early Modern Britain

James Daybell and Andrew Gordon, eds. Cultures of Correspondence in Early Modern Britain. Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2016. x., 336p. 36 ill. ISBN 9780812248258. USD 69.95 (hardcover).

In this exemplary collection of essays, James Daybell and Andrew Gordon provide an astute, comprehensive, and intellectually stimulating view on the early modern culture of correspondence. As the authors clarify in the introduction, “a fundamental aim of the book is the reconstruction of the material conditions and practices of the early modern letter” (8), which includes close readings of its content, careful analyses of its materiality, attention to its carrier networks, consideration of the relationships between writers and recipients, and explorations of the early modern letter’s classification and archival practices.

Meg Boulton, Jane Hawkes, and Melissa Herman, eds. The Art, Literature and Material Culture of the Medieval World: Transition, Transformation and Taxonomy

Meg Boulton, Jane Hawkes, and Melissa Herman, eds. The Art, Literature and Material Culture of the Medieval World: Transition, Transformation and Taxonomy. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015. xiii, 334p., ill. ISBN 9781846825613. £65.00 (hardcover).

This collected volume brings together 19 essays and explorations of cultural expressions in the medieval world. Its material presentation is enhanced by a beautiful design and numerous black-and-white and full-color images that support each chapter. From a purely aesthetic perspective, the book is both breathtaking and immediately appealing.

Echoing the subtitle of the book, the essays in the book are tied together by their focused discussion on transitions, transformations, and taxonomies of the Middle Ages.

Arni Brownstone. War Paintings of the Tsuu T’ina Nation

Arni Brownstone. War Paintings of the Tsuu T’ina Nation. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2015. xii, 143p., ill. ISBN 9781772120523. CAD 35.00

War Paintings of the Tsuu T’ina Nation builds from the premise that during much of the nineteenth century, pictographic paintings on tipi liners and story robes functioned as the closest equivalent to written records for the Indigenous peoples of the North American Great Plains. Thus, for scholars with an interest in the histories of authorship and reading that extend beyond print and script, Brownstone’s study will be of particular interest.