Skip to content

Tag: transnational print

Isabel Hofmeyr. Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading

Isabel Hofmeyr. Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2013. 218p, ill. ISBN 9780674072794. US $24.95 (hardback).

Can we really ignore a man whose face keeps appearing on every banknote printed in the Republic of India during the last 69 years? More importantly, given Gandhi’s known hostility to the Western ideals of politics and technological progress, can we ignore the nature of contradictions inherent in his use of the printing press as an experimental device for political and spiritual communication?

If printing, according to McLuhan, was a ditto device which first outlined the contours of the West-European idea of ‘nationalism,’ the ubiquitous Gandhi face on the Indian banknote is an important reminder of the fact as how that idea was appropriated, reinterpreted, and powerfully reinforced by the medium of print in non-Western societies.

Nicole N. Aljoe and Ian Finseth, eds. Journeys of the Slave Narrative in the Early Americas

Nicole N. Aljoe and Ian Finseth, eds. Journeys of the Slave Narrative in the Early Americas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780813936383. US $29.50 (paperback and ebook); US $59.50 (hardback).

“Books … have life spans and life chances… that correlate positively with the race of the author” argues Joanna Brooks in her brilliant essay, “The Unfortunates: What the Life Spans of Early Black Books Tell Us about Book History.” Brooks is particularly interested in “those substantial, more pricey books of more than forty-eight pages.” Still, we can cautiously extend her insight to other racialized material texts, which face some of the same existential challenges, from “being written, published, sold, bought, read, reprinted, [and] circulated” in the first place to being “collected and preserved” over time.