“Every Man His Own Publisher”: Extra-Illustration and the Dream of the Universal Library

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Gabrielle Dean


In the twenty-first century, the age-old dream of a universal library seems within reach at last, due to an expanding digital environment. But in fact, the publishing and reading practices we associate with Web 2.0 have some very old precedents. One such practice is Grangerization, a bibliophile hobby that originated in the late eighteenth century. In this period, and throughout the nineteenth century, private collectors inserted various forms of ephemera into their books: prints, letters, manuscripts, receipts, clippings. The books were usually rebound to accommodate the additional pages of tipped- and pasted-in material. The Grangerized or “extra-illustrated” book turned the linear text into a unique, multi-directional network of “links” to related texts, and recast the reader as the writer’s collaborator.

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Crossed Codes: Print's Dream of the Digital Age, Digital's Memory of the Age of Print, Curated by Marta Werner