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(p.121) Chapter Four Sharing
Dreaming in Books
Andrew Piper
University of Chicago Press

Sharing was integral to the diffusion of writing in the nineteenth century, making it increasingly available at the same time that the availability of writing made sharing that much easier. But the more writing was shared and shareable, the more difficult it became to claim something as one's own. The more one shared, the less one paradoxically had to give away. This chapter aims to expand the notion of romantic bibliographic culture to include observations of the simultaneity of various writing technologies within what we have traditionally called “print culture.” Miscellaneous prose in the early nineteenth century, and its detailed attention to hollow spaces, became a key force in the process of acculturating readers to understand writing and the book as fundamentally shared spaces. Washington Irving's story about textual sharing and textual hollows was thus, shared with remarkable success within the nineteenth-century world of books.

Keywords:   sharing, writing, shareable, romantic, bibliographic culture, nineteenth century, print culture

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