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Creed, Wendy Elizabeth (2002)
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: PN, Z004
Dreaming In Whispering Groves is an investigation into the production, transmission and reception of the book-as-object with specific reference to nine eighteenth century novels over four centuries: Robinson Crusoe; The Adventures Of The Count de Vinevil; Pamela; David Simple; Amelia; Betsy Thoughtless; Evelina; The Monk and The Italian. I examine the relationship between the reader, the book-as-text and the book-as-object, approaching my topic from the standpoint of a Reader Response and Rezeption-aesthetic critic. Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, I draw upon Art, History, Literature, Philosophy, Social Science, Technology and Textual Scholarship, in order to create a context for, and trace the development of the social and physical derivation, distribution, adoption and cultivation of the physical object book.\ud \ud My centra-stance to reader-orientated theories is provided by Memetics. A relative newcomer to the critical scene which has evolved as a result of, and parallel to, the study of genetics. The purpose of this juxtaposition is that both Reader-orientated theories and Memetics are dependent upon the reading or interpretation of data - the words on the page or the material to be replicated (in the case of the meme). However, my perception is that both offer an explanation of the way in which 'culture' has evolved and will continue to evolve but perhaps most importantly for the purpose of this thesis they provide answers to questions with regard to the book-as-object.\ud \ud Original empirical research in the form of a web-based questionnaire and a traditional paper-based one, and class-based role-play forms the foundation of an investigation into readers' responses to the book as a physical object. The responses have provided substantial evidence to corroborate my original hypothesis (now thesis).\ud \ud The mode of presentation for this thesis (including the use of fonts based on samples of 18th and early 19th century type and printers ornaments that suggest the quirks of wood-cut and early metal type) is intended as an integral part of the way in which the argument is developed. The readers/examiner's response to this 'book/thesis-as-object' is being sought, and the reader is therefore asked to engage with the contents bearing this in mind.
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