Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age by Laura Mandell

By Laura Mandell

Breaking the Book is a manifesto at the cognitive effects and emotional results of human interactions with actual books that finds why the conventional humanities disciplines are proof against 'digital' humanities.

  • Explores the explanations why the conventional humanities disciplines are proof against 'digital humanities'
  • Reveals elements of booklet background, providing it for example of the way diversified media form our modes of pondering and feeling   
  • Gathers jointly crucial e-book background and literary feedback about the hundred years prime as much as the early 19th-century emergence of mass print culture
  • Predicts results of the electronic revolution on disciplinarity, services, and the institutional restructuring of the humanities

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24 Language by the Book And the cure is philosophical correction of customary mis-associations, especially as they occur in language: [C]omplex Ideas … have their union and combination only from the Understanding which unites them under one Name: but … Men … have scarce any standing Rule to regulate … their Notions by, in such arbitrary ideas. ’Tis true, common Use … may be supposed here to afford some aid, to settle the signification of Language; and it cannot be denied, but that in some measure it does.

When Burke writes his Reflections on the Revolution in France in November of 1789, almost a half-century later, he again values these customary forms—so much so that he himself uses them in writing for print distribution his Reflections instead of the “polished” literary language of his day (Smith 1984: 36–9). Burke believes in what J. G. A. Pocock has called “the common-law mind,” that traditions are like the thoughts of a huge, eternal, collective mind. When he speaks of the constitution of England, his foes mocking him by asking him to produce such a document, he is really talking about the constitution of an organism, his country as a living culture.

Breaking the Book Polonius is running through the heads in his commonplace book: majesty, duty, time, wit, madness, cause, effect, defect, and he’s not really remembering anything written under those heads, only the heads themselves, which he has embellished with the “artful” device of rhetorical figures, particularly chiasmus and anaphora. 12 The members of the Royal Society will receive letters from people of all sorts from all over the world about experiments and observations—“histories,” Sprat calls them—will try out the experiments, and will then publish them in print.

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