Book Reviews / 113 The other good news is Martin's latest effort, a sumptuously illustrated volume that provides a brilliant demonstration of the problem of the book as object. Martin leads a team of scholars who reconstruct the early modern history of the many physical aspects that play an indispensible role in a book's creation and in its reception: typography, punctuation, all types of organizing features--from title page to index. They draw our attention above all to page layout. Some of the volume's most fascinating pages are devoted to the evolution as a result of which texts came to be broken down into paragraphs--this is an essential part of what Martin refers to as "the normalization of prose." Martin is interested in all the visual factors indispensible to the format of the modern book, those aspects that gave the modern printed book the structure with which we are familiar. The volume is particularly successful in its pedagogical mission because it is so lavishly illustrated--more than 700 plates show us exactly what the authors are describing. And, while some of the illustrations--those of frontispieces, predictably--are beautiful, the majority are primarily informative, so that we can see what printed prose
French Forum – University of Nebraska Press
Published: May 1, 2001
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