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Everyday Life in the German Book Trade: Friedrich Nicolai as Bookseller and Publisher in the Age of Enlightenment, 1750-1810 (Penn State Series in the History of the Book) Hardcover – December 5, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Penn State Series in the History of the Book
  • Hardcover: 419 pages
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr (Txt) (December 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0271020113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271020112
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,254,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Friedrich Nicolai—bookseller, publisher, author, and Aufklärer—would have approved of this book. Like many of the volumes he published and sold in a career spanning the rise of a self-conscious modern German public, it enlightens and informs, eschewing the latest philosophical and literary fancies for sober, solid, and comprehensive analysis. Pamela E. Selwyn has digested an enormous amount of archival material, including a significant proportion of letters in the Nicolai Nachlass, to provide an in-depth look at the German book trade in the second half of the eighteenth century, seen through the prism of one of the most protean figures of the era.”
—Benjamin W. Redekop, American Historical Review

“This is a well-researched, well-written contribution to the literature on Friedrich Nicolai.”
—Pamela Currie, MLR

Everyday Life in the German Book Trade is welcome as the first detailed account by a book historian of Nicolai as a publisher. It ‘aims to present a rounded picture of Nicolai’s life as a bookseller and publisher’ — and succeeds admirably.”
—Bernhard Fabian, Times Literary Supplement

“[Selwyn’s] splendid book does full justice to this central Enlightenment figure while at the same time giving a thorough and engaging picture of the ins and outs of the German book trade in the second half of the eighteenth century.”
—Johan Van Der Zande, Central European History

“Selwyn’s work makes a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the book trade and publishing world during the Aufklärung in Prussia. Apart from what we learn about the specific career of Nicolai, we gain many insights into how books came into existence, what tactics prospective authors used, the joys and sorrows of the publishers and booksellers, how various governments attempted to monitor the book trade, the nature of book piracy, and a host of other matters. Selwyn’s excellent skills as a writer allow her to describe these issues in an engaging way . . . It is a marvelous piece of work—a delight to read.”
—John D. Woodbridge, Trinity International University

“Thanks to remarkably thorough documentation, Selwyn can offer an extraordinarily detailed exploration of the entire scope of Nicolai’s practice—his contacts with authors, the production process itself, his distribution and sales system. The resulting work depicts the behind-the-scenes process that explains the triumphs of many of Germany’s greatest classical writers.”
—C.L. Dolmetsch, CHOICE

“None of it lends itself to easy summary, but time and again the reader is provided with skillful vignettes which give a lively picture of the work and working conditions of an exceptional eighteenth-century German publisher.”
—Bernhard Fabian, Times Literary Supplement

“Moreover, Selwyn has returned to the archives, so that her study is a significant new contribution, not just a reworking of published material.”
—Arnd Bohm, Eighteenth-Century Studies

“Occasional repetitions in the presentation do not detract from the outstanding quality of Selwyn’s study.”

—Holger Hanowell, ECCB: Eighteenth Century Current Bibliography



“This is a well-researched, well-written contribution to the literature on Friedrich Nicolai.”

—Pamela Currie, MLR

About the Author

Pamela E. Selwyn, who wrote a dissertation at Princeton University in 1992 under Robert Darnton on which this book is based, has been a freelance translator in Berlin since then.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a scholarly contribution to understanding how the book became so available to the general public. Nicolai was very instrumental in becoming the source in Europe to find and distribute literature. In a sense, this is a history of the book and how it came to be after Gutenberg. This is an interesting and easy to read book which also gives insight into the history in Europe both culturally and socially during the Enlightenment. I found it contained information I had never been introduced to before. It is definitely worth your time if you are interested in that period of time in our history.
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