History of Reading by Steven Roger Fischer
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History of Reading
By Steven Roger Fischer

A History of Reading

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Format: Paperback

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History of Reading by Steven Roger Fischer

Book Description

Steven Roger Fischer's fascinating book traces the complete story of reading from the time when symbol first became sign through to the electronic texts of the present day. Describing ancient forms of reading and the various modes that were necessary to read different writing systems and scripts, Fischer turns to Asia and the Americas and discusses the forms and developments of completely divergent dimensions of reading. With the Middle Ages in Europe and the Middle East, innovative re-inventions of reading emerged - silent and liturgical reading; the custom of lectors; reading's focus in general education - whereupon printing transformed society's entire attitude to reading. Fischer charts the explosion of the book trade in this era, its increased audience and radically changed subject-matter; describes the emergence of broadsheets, newspapers and public readings; and traces the effect of new font designs on general legibility. Fischer discusses society's dedication to public literacy in the sweeping educational reforms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and notes the appearance of free libraries, gender differences in reading matter, public advertising and the 'forbidden' lists of Church, State and the unemancipated. Finally, he assesses the future, in which it is likely that read communication will soon exceed oral communication through the use of the personal computer and the internet, and looks at 'visual language' and modern theories of how reading is processed in the human brain. Asking how the New Reader can reshape reading's future, he suggests a radical new definition of what reading could be.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781861892096
ISBN-10: 1861892098
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 133mm x 33mm)
Pages: 384
Imprint: Reaktion Books
Publisher: Reaktion Books
Publish Date: 27-Aug-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Books By Author Steven Roger Fischer

History of the Pacific Islands by Steven Roger Fischer History of the Pacific Islands, Hardback (March 2013)

Steven Fischer traces the human history of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia from prehistoric culture to the present day. The second edition has been revised throughout in the light of recent scholarship and brings the story right up-to-date in terms of events and developments. Additional maps also enhance this established text.

Islands by Steven Roger Fischer Islands, Hardback (August 2012)

Our planet hosts over a million islands. From Britain to Japan, Mauritius to Manhattan, they are small living geological, biological and cultural laboratories. This title reveals how since time began islands have been one of the primary birthplaces for plants, animals and proto-humans.

Island at the End of the World by Steven Roger Fischer Island at the End of the World, Paperback (March 2006)

Famed for its breathtaking isolation, Easter Island was a verdant South-Sea idyll when a small canoeful of Polynesians arrived in c AD 700. Centuries later the island's statues were famous throughout the world. This book presents a comprehensive history of Easter Island, its people and their extraordinary story.

History of Language by Steven Roger Fischer History of Language, Paperback (August 2001)

It is tempting to take the tremendous rate of contemporary linguistic change for granted. What is required, in fact, is a radical reinterpretation of what language is. This book begins with an examination of the modes of communication used by dolphins, birds and primates as the first contexts in which the concept of 'language' might be applied.

» View all books by Steven Roger Fischer


UK Kirkus Review » 'A History of Reading' is a scholarly and comprehensive account of reading world-wide, past, present and future. From the earliest 'reading' of notches to the explosion of reading material available today, Stephen Fischer details how reading was once largely work-related or seen as a symbol of power and wealth and a male prerogative; the advent of printing made it eventually more widely accessible. The role of religion, the Roman Empire and the Greeks, early bookshops, reading circles in the Ancient World, circulating libraries and the invention of reading glasses, 'silent' reading, the growth of literacy, and much more, are chronicled here. For those who find 'happiness in a little corner with a little book' this is fascinating stuff (the great - uncatalogued - Library at Alexandria contained more books than one man could read; book-theft was once punishable by death) that confirms the power of reading to enthral and educate. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Steven Roger Fischer

Steven Roger Fischer is Director of the Institute of Polynesian Languages and Literatures in Auckland, New Zealand. A History of Reading is the final book in Fischer's trilogy which also includes A History of Language and A History of Writing, as well as Island at the End of the World: The Turbulent History of Easter Island, all available from Reaktion Books.

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History of the Pacific Islands by Steven Roger Fischer
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