Siskin and Warner 2010

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Adrian Johns, "The Piratical Enlightenment" (301-320)

in c18, "printing was a local craft, addressing local and regional markets. Its legal, conventional, and moral institutions were local, too. Printed ideas attained ubiquity not only by distribution from major centers, but also by tension and competition between them and a more numerous set of reprinters. The reprinters were relays, if you will, en route between publisher and reader. The more the competition, the greater the ubiquity." (302)

not necessarily pure ideas radiating from Paris, Edinburgh; but mediated texts -- material texts (302)

  • "every conceivable kind of knowledge spread across the continent and beyond in this way, through multiple reappropriations, generally unauthorized and often denounced" (303)
  • "Cultural dispersion acted as a kind of chain reaction" (303)
  • "Cascades of reprints carried ideas across Europe" (303)
"In consequence, it was perfectly possible -- indeed, probable -- for a given volume to be either legitimate or piratical depending on where a reader happened to encounter it. Piracy was an attribute of the politics of space. So, therefore, was Enlightenment." (303-4)

"most fertile sites of reprinting were places with indistinct borders -- places whose political autonomy was ambiguous" (304) -- e.g. Scotland, Ireland

3 kings of polities with controversial relationship to reprinting:

  • centralized monarchies (France)
  • colonies (America)
  • composite states (Scotland, Ireland, German lands)

printer-publishers worried that reprinting threatened the fidelity of the text; reprinters argued they were spreading its message of public reason further (305)

Naturphilosophie, Romantic merger of nature and self, high idealism

piracy in German states -- some states actively encouraged it

"Practitioners of Buchernachdruck were not shy about defending their practice. They discomfited their opponents by forthrightly laying claim to the ideals of Enlightenment. Reprinting undercut monopolies; it made knowledge available at lower prices, across wider regions, to more readers. Enlightenment required it. a book was not an 'ideal' thing, but an object of manufacture like any other, so it should be treated the same way." (309) -- ideas like literary property were useless in such a political system

the "reading refolution" "now took effect as the central process in Bildung -- the formation or cultivation of the self. This concept emphasized the reader's sympathetic engagement with the work, in conscious opposition to what was often derided as the sterility of encyclopedism" (309)

1764, Leibzig booksellers abandoned Tauschsystem (barter system)

  • "By reversing the status of the page as a commodity, it gave rise to a cmomerce of print in which content itself took on financial meaning -- that is, one in which authorship acquired value" (309)

1760-1775, Geniezeit -- age of genius

Johann Gottfried Herder, drawing on Albrecht Haller, theory of "irritation" -- "a small, inexplicable expansion and contraction of a muscle when stimulated"; "knowledge came from sensations ... [but] sensations themselves were multitudes of events similar to irritations. The endless flow of such events that impinged on all of us gave rise to the various histories of individuals, of cultures, and even of life itself. Literary origination was therefore but one aspect of a natural phenomenon that also explained physical reproduction and maturation. ... Herder defined this [sex] as a process in which two bodies, excited by massive irritations, combined to produce a "repreint" (Abdruck) of themselves." (313) -- !!

  • authorship as unique as creating a child

reading as Kraft (314); "To read 'in the spirit of the author' was to apprehend the author's unique physiology of sensation." (314) -- "He called this "living reading", and declared that it amounted to a "divinatino into the author's soul"" (314)

Kant: if printers are speaking trumpets, pirates hijack the author's voice (316); "reprinting imperiled this ideal [of the Enlightenment] because it mixed authorship with mediation" (317)