ABOUT THIS BOOK
PUBLICATION DATE: September 19, 2019
The Secret Life of the Book: Why They Mean More Than Words
We love books. We take them to bed with us. They weigh down our suitcases when we go on holiday. We display them on our bookshelves or store them in our attics. We give them as gifts. We write our names in them. We take them for granted. And all the time, our books are leading a double life.
The Secret Life of Books is about everything that isn’t just the words. It’s about how books transform us as individuals. It’s about how books – and readers – have evolved over time. And it’s about why, even with the arrival of other media, books still have the power to change our lives.
In this illuminating account, Tom Mole looks at everything from binding innovations to binding errors, to books defaced by lovers, to those imprisoning professors in their offices, to books in art, to burned books, to the books that create nations, to those we’ll leave behind.
It will change how you think about books.
Reviews of The Secret Life of the Book: Why They Mean More Than Words
'A real treasure trove for book lovers' Alexander McCall Smith
'Every sentence is utterly captivating . . . probably the most compulsive text ever penned about what it means to handle and possess a book' Christopher de Hamel, author of Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts
Wonderfully insightful – Alberto Manguel, author of A History of Reading
Tom Moles enthusiasm for books is infectious. If you also love books . . . youll want to discover The Secret Life of Books – Sam Jordison, author of Literary London
A treat for bibliophiles everywhere – Gavin Francis, author of Shapeshifters
A treasure-chest, filled with bookish wonders – Adam Roberts, BSFA award-winning author of Jack Glass
I suspect Ill never look at a book the same way again – Jon Courtenay Grimwood, author of Stamping Butterflies
Tom Mole is Professor of English Literature and Book History and Director of the Centre for the History of the Book at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He studied at the University of Bristol and has worked at the University of Glasgow, the University of Bristol and, most recently, as Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Tom is interested in literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and in book history. With Michelle Levy, he edited The Broadview Reader in Book History (2014) and wrote The Broadview Introduction to Book History (2017).
His most recent book is What the Victorians Made of Romanticism (Princeton, 2017). The book offers a new reception history of Romantic authors in Victorian Britain, paying particular attention to understudied practices of citation, appropriation and redeployment, and to commodified or remediated sites of reception, such as illustrated editions, anthologies and statues. It won the Saltire Award for Research Book of the Year.
His first book, Byron’s Romantic Celebrity (Palgrave, 2007) won the Elma Dangerfield Prize. In it, he argues that our modern celebrity culture began in the Romantic period, and that Lord Byron should be understood as one of its earliest examples and most astute critics. Tom edited Romanticism and Celebrity Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2009), which brings together twelve contributors to assemble the most complete account of Romantic celebrity available. He has also edited a volume of reviews from Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine for a six-volume selected edition (Pickering and Chatto, 2006), and published articles in a number of journals.