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section heading icon     impacts

The history and impact of particular works, such as the Christian Bible and Mao's Red Book.

It covers -

section marker     religion

For studies on the Christian Bibles see Wide As The Waters: The Story of the English Bible & the Revolution It Inspired (New York: Simon & Schuster 2001) by Benson Bobrick, The Bible As Book: The First Printed Editions (New Castle: Oak Knoll 1999) by Paul Saenger, Print & Protestantism in Early Modern England (New York: Oxford Uni Press 2001) by Ian Green, Printing, Propaganda, & Martin Luther (Berkeley: Uni of California Press 1994) by Mark Edwards, Kevin Sharpe's Reading Revolutions: The Politics of Reading in Early Modern England (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 2000), In The Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible & How It Changed A Nation, A Language & A Culture (New York: Doubleday 2001) by Alister McGrath and Whose Bible Is It: A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages (London: Allen Lane 2005) by Jaroslav Pelikan. William Schniedewind's How the Bible Became A Book: The Textualisation of Ancient Israel (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 2004) is particularly insightful.

For a later period see Jonathan Rose's The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 2001), Mary Carpenter's Imperial Bibles, Domestic Bodies: Women, Sexuality, and Religion in the Victorian Market (Athens: Ohio Uni Press 2003), Leslie Howsam's Cheap Bibles: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the British & Foreign Bible Society (New York: Cambridge Uni Press 1991), Peter Wosh's Spreading the Word: The Bible Business in Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca: Cornell Uni Press 1994), Candy Brown's The Word in the World: Evangelical Writing, Publishing, and Reading in America, 1789-1880 (Chapel Hill: Uni of North Carolina Press 2004), David Nord's Faith in reading : religious publishing and the birth of mass media in America (New York: Oxford Uni Press 2004) and An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777-1880 (Stanford: Stanford Uni Press 2000) by Paul Gutjahr.

An outstanding overview is provided by David Daniell's The Bible in English: Its History and Influence (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 2003).

For the influential Pilgrim's Progress see Isabel Hofmeyr's The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of The Pilgrim's Progress (Princeton: Princeton Uni Press 2004). Terryl Givens' By The Hand of Mormon (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2002) covers the equally influential LDS text.

The icky 'Great Books' project is profiled in Great Idea at the Time: The Rise, Fall, and Curious Afterlife of the Great Books (New York: PublicAffairs 2008) by Alex Beam


section marker     science

For astronomy see Owen Gingerich's The Book Nobody Read (London: Heinemann 2004) on the first and second editions of Copernicus' De revolutionibus.

In the life sciences and geology see James Secord's Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation" (Chicago: Uni of Chicago Press 2000).

Among the plethora of Darwin studies see Peter Bowler's Charles Darwin, the man and his influence (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1990), David Bratchell's The Impact of Darwinism: Texts and Commentary Illustrating Nineteenth Century Religious, Scientific, and Literary Attitudes (Amersham: Avebury 1981), the narrower Darwin and his Critics: The Reception of Darwin's Theory of Evolution by the Scientific Community (Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 1974) by Hull, Social Darwinism in European and American Though, 1860-1945: Nature as Model and Nature as Threat (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1997) by Mike Hawkins, The Descent of Darwin: The Popularization of Darwinism in Germany, 1860-1914 (Chapel Hill: Uni of North Carolina Press 1981) by Alfred Kelly, The Darwinian Paradigm: Essays on Its History, Philosophy, and Religious Implications (New York: Routledge 1989) by Michael Ruse and Owen Chadwick's Secularisation of the European Mind in the 19th Century (London: Cambridge Uni Press 1975)

For reception of Kinsey's pathbreaking research on behaviour see in particular Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy's Sex, The Measure of All Things: A Life of Alfred C Kinsey (Bloomington: Indiana Uni Press 2000) and Wardell Pomeroy's Dr. Kinsey and the Institute for Sex Research (New York: Harper & Row 1972).

For Freud - of whom WH Auden wrote

if often he was wrong and, at times, absurd,
to us he is no more a person
now but a whole climate of opinion

see by Peter Gay's superb Freud: A Life for our Time (London: Dent 1988).

For domestic science see The Short Life and Long Times of Mrs Beeton (London: Fourth Estate 2005) by Kathryn Hughes. James McConnachie's The Book of Love: The Story of the Kamasutra (New York: Metropolitan 2008) discusses a much-mythologised text.

Rachel Carson's 1962 Silent Spring is profiled in Priscilla Murphy's What a Book Can Do: The Publication and Reception of Silent Spring (Amherst: Uni of Massachusetts Press 2005).

The Making of Mr Gray's Anatomy: Bodies, Books, Fortune, Fame (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2008) by Ruth Richardson complements Andreas Vesalius of Brussels, 1514-1564 (Berkeley: Uni of California Press 1964) by Charles O'Malley.

section marker     politics


Victor Hugo quipped that "Nothing so much resembles the mouth of a cannon as an open bottle of ink".

For Mao's Red Book and the associated Mao cult see Geremie Barmé's Shades of Mao: The Posthumous Cult of the Great Leader (Sharpe 1996) and the Morning Sun site.

There is a contrarian, although for us problematical, view in Shawn McHale's Print and Power: Confucianism, Communism and Buddhism in the Making of Modern Vietnam (Honolulu: Uni of Hawai'i Press 2004).

section marker     literature

For Shakespeare see The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book, Vol. I: An Account of the First Folio Based on Its Sales and Prices, 1623-2000 (Oxford: Oxford Uni Press 2001) by Anthony West. At the other end of the spectrum see The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later (New York: Farrar, Straus Giroux 2006) edited by Jason Shinder.

Roget's Thesaurus is profiled in The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus (New York: Putnmam 2008) by Joshua Kendall. Among studies of lesser works see Anita Fellman's Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Impact on American Culture (Columbia: Uni of Missouri Press 2008).





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