Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bibliography on Books in Art


A query about studies of depictions of books in art produced many suggestions this month on SHARP-L, the discussion list of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing. It is interesting how many of them focus on artistic depictions of women reading or writing. When we first compiled a pictorial database for the Iconic Books Project, we noticed the prominent association women with books across a wide variety of cultures and throughout history. Since books in art have been a key interest of the Iconic Books Project from its inception, I have taken the liberty of compiling the suggestions here. 

Books and articles:
Adler, Laure, Stefan Bollman and Jean Torrent, Les femmes qui lisent sont dangereuses ("Reading Women Are Dangerous"), Flammarion, 2006, new ed. 2015.
Adler, Laure, Stefan Bollman and Jean Torrent, Les femmes qui lisent sont de plus en plus dangereuses ("Reading Women are More & More Dangerous") Flammarion, 2012.
Allen, James Smith. In the Public Eye: a History of Reading in Modern France, 1800-1940. Princeton University Press, 1991.  Chapter Five: “Artistic Images.”
Brown, Kathryn. Women Readers in French Painting 1870-1890. Ashgate, 2012. Introduction online here.  
Docherty, Linda J. "Women as Readers: Visual Interpretations," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 107 (October 1997): 335-88, online here.
Inmann, Christiane. Forbidden Fruit : a History of Women and Books in Art. Prestel, 2009.
Lerner, Loren. “William Notman’s Portrait Photographs of Girls Reading from the 1860s to 1880s: A Pictorial Analysis Based on Contemporary Writings.” Papers of The Bibliographical Society of Canada 47/1 (2009), online here.  
Long, Elizabeth. Book Clubs: Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Chapter 1.
Stewart, Garrett. The Look of Reading: Book, Painting, Text. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
Thornton, Dora. The Scholar in His Study: Ownership and Experience in Renaissance Italy. Yale University Press, 1998.
Warner, William. “Staging Readers Reading.” Online here.
Zanker, Paul. The Mask of Socrates: the Image of the Intellectual in Antiquity. Tr. A. Shapiro. Berkeley: University of California, 1995.

Exhibition and Sale catalogs:
il libro come tema, National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, September – November, 2006.
Das Buch in der Kunst - die Kunst im Buch. Graphik-Salon Gerhart Söhn, 1984.

Library and Museuam Collections:
Antwerp City Library: Former Antwerp city librarian Ger Schmook (1898-1985) collected a huge set of images of books in art; it’s a collection of photocopies with a card file.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: catalog by Mindell Dubansky of photographs and descriptions of bindings and images of books depicted in the art works of the Met: “Catalog of Bookbindings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art” [v. 9.] European Paintings, Representations of the book in art. -- [v. 10.] The Lehman Collection, Representations of the book in art.

2 comments:

Caroline Sloat said...

see also Linda J. Docherty, "Women as Readers: Visual Interpretations," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 107 (October 1997): 335-88.

http://www.americanantiquarian.org/proceedings/44539496.pdf

Jim Watts said...

Thank you! I've added the entry and link.