WHAT IS A BOOK ? By Roger Chartier École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and University of Pennsylvania. Kant raised the uestion in ! # in his Science of Right 1 . His ans$er distinguished %et$een t$o natures of any %oo&. 'n the one hand( a %oo& is an )opus mechanicum*( an +roduct of ,echanical art and a ,aterial ()körperlich*) o%-ect $hich can %e re+roduced %y anyone $ho is in the rightful +ossession of a co+y. 'n the other hand( a
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  WHAT IS A BOOK ? By Roger ChartierÉcole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and University of Pennsylvania.Kant raised the uestion in ! # in his Science of Right  1 . His ans$erdistinguished %et$een t$o natures of any %oo&. 'n the one hand a %oo&is an  opus mechanicum * an +roduct of ,echanical art and a ,aterial( körperlich *) o%-ect $hich can %e re+roduced %y anyone $ho is in therightful +ossession of a co+y. 'n the other hand a %oo& is a discourseaddressed to the +u%lic %y its author or %y the +u%lisher $ho has receiveda ,andate given %y the author and $ho is authoried for s+ea&ing in theauthor/s na,e. 0t is the a%sence of such a  mandatum * $ho ,ade illegalthe unauthoried (i.e. +irated) editions of %oo&s +rinted %y +u%lishers $ho$ere not entitled %y the author to address their $riting to the +u%lic. 1t the end of the eighteenth2century in the conte3t of the de%ateover the +ro+erty rights of $riters and +u%lishers Kant fra,ed in a legaland -uridical language the a,%ivalence of the %oo& $hich $as e3+ressed,eta+horically one hundred years earlier. 1round !456 1lonso 78ctor deParedes $ho $as co,+ositor and then +rinter in Sevilla and 9adride3+ressed the dou%le nature of the %oo& 2 as ,aterial o%-ect and asdiscourse 2 than&s to an srcinal i,age. He turned u+side do$n theclassical ,eta+hor $hich descri%ed the hu,an %ody or face as a %oo& asfor e3a,+le in Romeo and Juliet   or Richard the Second  and heconsidered not the hu,an %eing as a %oo& %ut the %oo& as a hu,ancreature :   Asimilo yo un libro a la fábrica de un hombre * 0 co,+are a%oo& to the ,a&ing of a ,an*. Both the %oo& and the ,an have arational soul ( anima racional *) and a %ody $hich ,ust %e eleganthandso,e and har,onious ( un cuerpo galan, hermoso, y apacible *). ;hesoul of the %oo& is not only the te3t as it $as i,agined $ritten or dictated !  0,,anuel Kant Metaphysik der Sitten  (! # ) in Kant esammelte Schriften  (!#6<)Berlin =alter de >ruyter !#45 7olu,e 70 ++. <6?2@#! en +articulier ++. <5#2<#6English translation as !he Science of Right   A ?! 00. (availa%le at$$$.&$,). 1  %y his author the  buena doctrina * it is this te3t given in a  acertadadisposici n * an adeuate +resentation < . 0f the +hysical %ody of the %oo& isthe +roduct of the $or& done %y the +ress,en or the %oo&%inders its soulis not ,olded only %y the author/s invention %ut also %y the decisions,ade %y the +rinters co,+ositors or +roof2readers $ho ta&e care of the+unctuation s+elling or lay2out of the te3t. or Paredes as later for Don9cKenie fo,s aect ,eaning* and the su%stantive essence* of a $or&cannot %e se+arated fro, the accidentals* of its +rinted te3ts. ? 0f the %oo& can %e co,+ared to a ,an it is %ecause >od createdhu,an nature in the sa,e ,anner than a +rinter +rints a %oo&. 0n !4 F9elchor de Ca%rera Gue de >u,an $ho $as la$yer in the RoyalCouncil of the King of S+ain +u%lished a +a,+hlet $hich ai,ed at +rovingthat +rinting $as not a ,echanical trade %ut a li%eral art $hich deservedthe rene$al of the Iscal +rivileges and e3e,+tions granted to the ,aster+rinters the correctors the co,+ositors or the +ress,en @ . or Ca%rera,an&ind is one of the si3 %oo&s $ritten %y >od. ;he other ones are the #ea$en  co,+ared to an i,,ense chart of $hich the stars are theal+ha%et  the %orld  itself $hich is a universal li%rary or co,+endiu,*enco,+assing the entire Creation  the Boo& of &ife  $hich has the for,atof a register containing all the na,es of the disci+les of Christ 'hrist  hi,self $ho is %oth an  e(emplar  * to %e co+ied and  e(emplum * to %efollo$ed and the Irst of all the %oo&s the )irgin  $hose creation $asdecided even %efore the creation of the =orld in the  Mente *i$ina * inthe Divine 9ind. Man  is the only %oo& +rinted %y >od : >od +ut his i,ageand seal on the +ress in order that the co+y $ould %e true to $hat it hadto %e* and he desired to re-oice hi,self $ith a great nu,%er and a greatvariety of co+ies of his ,ysterious 'riginal*. <   1lonso 78ctor de Paredes +nstituci n y srcen del arte de la imprenta y Regla generales para los componedores  EdiciJn y +rJlogo de ai,e 9oll 9adrid El CrotalJn !#5@ Lreed.9adrid Cala,%ur Bi%lioteca Mitterae <66<N ++. @@v. ?  D.. 9cKenie Making Meaning. -rinters of the Mind and /ther 0ssays  Edited %y PeterD. 9cDonald and 9ichael . Suare S.. 1,hert University of 9assachusetts Press <66<en +articulier ;y+ogra+hy and 9eaning : the Case of =illia, Congreve* ++. !#52<?4. @  9elchor de Ca%rera Gue de >u,an *iscurso legal, hist rico y poltico en prueba delsrcen, progressos, utilidad, noble2a y e(celencias del Arte de la +mprenta  9adrid !4 F. 2  or Paredes $hen he descri%es his art for Ca%rera $hen he -ustiIesthe +rivileges of the +rinters or for don Oui3ote $hen he visits a +rinting2sho+ in Barcelona te3tual +roduction is a ,aterial +rocess $hich involves+laces ,achines and $or&ers. Bet$een the authors genius and theca+acity of the reader* as $rote 9o3on F  a ,ulti+licity of technicalo+erations deInes the +rocess of +u%lication as a +rocess in $hich thete3tuality of the o%-ect and the ,ateriality of the te3t 4  cannot %ese+arated.or a long ti,e ho$ever in the =estern tradition the inter+retationof te3ts $hether they $ere canonical or not $as se+arated fro, theanalysis of the technical and social conditions of their +u%lication andcirculation. ;here are ,any reasons for this dissociation : the +er,anenceof the o++osition %et$een the +urity of the idea and its corru+tion %y the,atter  the invention of co+yright that esta%lished the author/s +ro+ertyon a te3t considered as al$ays identical to hi, $hatever the for, of its+u%lication 5  or the triu,+h of an aesthetics that -udged $or&sinde+endently of their dierent and successive ,aterialities # . Parado3ically the t$o critical a++roaches that have %rought to %earthe ,ost sustained attention to the ,aterial ,odalities of the inscri+tionof the $ritten $ord have reinforced rather than co,%atted this +rocess of te3tual a%straction. Bi%liogra+hy has ,o%ilied the rigorous study of thevarious states of the sa,e $or& (editions issues co+ies) in order to Indan ideal te3t +uriIed of alterations inQicted through the +rocess of +u%lication and su++osedly in confor,ity $ith the te3t $ritten dictated ordrea,ed of %y the author !6 . Hence $ithin a disci+line dedicated al,ost F    ose+h 9o3on Mechanick 0(ercises on the %hole Art of -rinting 31456789  Edited %y Her%ert Davis and Harry Carter Mondon '3ford University Press !#F5 ++. ?!!2<!<. 4  or the deInition of the category of ,ateriality of the te3t* cf. the se,inal article %y9argreta de >raia et Peter Stally%rass ;he 9ateriality of the Sha&es+earean ;e3t* Shakespeare :uartely   7olu,e @@ Gu,%er ? !##? ++. <FF2<5?.  B. =. 0fe Reading and ;iction in olden7Age Spain< A -latonist 'riti=ue and Some-icares=ue Replies   Ca,%ridge Ca,%ridge University Press !#5F. 5  9ar& Rose  Authors and />ners< !he +n$ention of 'opyright   Ca,%ridge 9ass. andMondon Harvard Univerity Press !##? and ose+h Moe$enstein !he Authors *ue<-rinting and the -rehistory of 'opyright    Chicago Chicago University Press <66<. #  9artha =ood,ansee !he Author, Art, and the Market< Rereading the #istory of  Aesthetics  Ge$ or& Colu,%ia University Press !##@. !6   =alter >reg 'ollected -apers   Edited %y . C. 9a3$ell '3ford Clarendon Press !#44 R. B. 9cKerro$  An +ntroduction to ?ibliography for &iterary Students  '3ford Clarendon 3  e3clusively to the co,+arison of +rinted o%-ects the o%session for lost,anuscri+ts and the radical distinction %et$een the essence of the $or&and the accidents that have defor,ed or altered it. ;he deconstructionist a++roach for its +art has forcefully insistedon the ,ateriality of $riting and the dierent for,s of the inscri+tion of the language !! . But in its eorts to a%olish or to shift the ,ost i,,ediateo++ositions (%et$een orality and $riting %et$een the s+eech acts andthe re+roduci%ility of $riting) such an a++roach has +ro+osedenco,+assing conce+tual categories (archi2$riting* itera%ility*) thatdivert fro, the +ossi%le +erce+tion of the eects +roduced %y thee,+irical dierences that they are eacing.1gainst such an a%straction of discourse it is necessary to recall thatthe +roduction not only of %oo&s %ut funda,entally of te3ts the,selvesis a collective +rocess that i,+lies dierent ,o,ents dierenttechniues and dierent interventions : that of the %oo& +u%lisher the,aster +rinter the co+y editors the co,+ositors the +roofreaders. ;hetransactions %et$een the $or&s and the social $orld do not consist thenonly in the aesthetic and sy,%olic a++ro+riation of o%-ects of languagesand of rituals or daily +ractices as the Ge$ Historicis,* ,ight $ish !< . ;hey concern ,ore funda,entally the ,ulti+le ,o%ile unsta%le relations%et$een the te3t and its +hysical e,%odi,ent the $or& and its ,aterialinscri+tion. ;he tension %et$een the t$o $ays of considering the %oo& asdiscourse and as o%-ect does not allo$ for easy resolution. David Kastanhas recently characteried as Platonist* that $hich considers that a $or&transcends all its +ossi%le ,aterial incarnations and as +rag,atic* that$hich ar,s that no te3t e3ists outside of the ,aterialities that +ro+ose it Press !#<  redson Bo$ers -rinciples of ?ibliographical *escription  PrincetonPrinceton University Press !#@# ?ibliography and !e(tual 'riticism  '3ford ClarendonPress !#4@ et 0ssays in ?ibliography, !e(t, and 0diting  Charlottesville University Pressof 7irginia !# F. See also Phili+ >as&ell  A @e> +ntroduction to ?ibliography   '3ford 1tthe Clarendon Press !# <. !!  acues Derrida *e la rammatologie  (Paris: Éditions de 9inuit) !#4  and &imited +nc (Paris: >alilTe !##6). !<   Ste+hen >reen%latt Shakespearean @egotiations. !he 'irculation of Social 0nergy inRenaissance 0ngland  Ber&eley et Mos 1ngeles University of California Press !#55 ++. !2<6. 4
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