Publication date:16 May 2019
Length of book:272 pages
PublisherPenn State University Press
It is impossible to separate the content of a book from its form. In this study, Filipe Carreira da Silva and Mónica Brito Vieira expand our understanding of the history of social and political scholarship by examining how the entirety of a book mediates and constitutes meaning in ways that affect its substance, appropriation, and reception over time.
Examining the evolving form of classic works of social and political thought, including W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, G. H. Mead’s Mind, Self, and Society, and Karl Marx’s 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, Carreira da Silva and Brito Vieira show that making these books involved many hands. They explore what publishers, editors, translators, and commentators accomplish by offering the reading public new versions of the works under consideration, examine debates about the intended meaning of the works and discussions over their present relevance, and elucidate the various ways in which content and material form are interwoven. In doing so, Carreira da Silva and Brito Vieira characterize the editorial process as a meaning-producing action involving both collaboration and an ongoing battle for the importance of the book form to a work’s disciplinary belonging, ideological positioning, and political significance.
Theoretically sophisticated and thoroughly researched, The Politics of the Book radically changes our understanding of what doing social and political theory—and its history—implies. It will be welcomed by scholars of book history, the history of social and political thought, and social and political theory.
—Gregor McLennan, author of Story of Sociology