AQ - Book Trade and Publishing

Buchwissenschaft in Deutschland: ein Handbuch [Book Scholarship in Germany: A Handbook]. Ed. Ursula Rautenberg. 2 vols. Berlin [et. al.]: de Gruyter Saur. xvi, 602, xiv, 606-1109 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-11-020036-2: EUR 149.95

This two-volume handbook is comprised of six sections. In the first volume, Theory and Research, section one is devoted to defining book scholarship as a discipline and delineating the further horizon of media scholarship. In the second section, eight “research reports” cover central areas of interest, almost all of which are in the field of book history: reading, history of the book trade, censorship, manuscripts vs. printed books, and books and knowledge in the Early Modern Period. Volume 2, devoted to Teaching, Communication within the Discipline, and Institutions,” begins with section three, covering organizations and communication. It is followed by descriptions in section four of the most important German university programs for the study of the discipline. Section five covers research libraries and museums, and section six closes the volume with essays on bibliophilism and book arts.

The introductory section of the handbook is disappointing. It offers less a description of the field and its issues than a chronicle of academic competitiveness. The main value of the entire work lies in its comprehensive bibliographies and its surveys of research on the toopic. Many of the less informative essays could have been omitted. The handbook might have been more useful if it were only one volume, and if it had not restricted itself to Germany: the problematical nature of a national approach was highlighted by lectures such as “Printers on the Move: A Transnational Approach to Book Trade Research” and “The Perils of Nationalism in Book History” delivered at an impressive conference on “The Perils of Print Culture” held in September 2010 at Trinity College Dublin.

Both the handbook’s inauspicious rendition and its fairly numerous typos and grammatical errors attest to the weakness of today’s publishing industry—another possible topic for book scholarship. This work would have profited from the scrutiny of a competent editor. [asz/nb]

Lexikon zur Buchmalerei: LzB [Lexicon of Book Illumination]. Ed. Helmut Engelhart. Stuttgart: Hiersemann. 25 cm. (Bibliothek des Buchwesens, 19). ISBN 978-3-7772-0919-7

Vol. 1, pt. 1. Adelphi-Meister-Kursive. 2009. vi, 331 p. ill. ISBN 978-3-7772- 0920-3: EUR 184

The intention of the editors of the Lexicon zur Buchmalerei was obviously to produce a reference work focusing above all on early medieval book illumination and oriented to the needs of a non-specialist audience. In order to reduce costs, the publisher merely made use of material previously published in the second edition of the Lexikon des gesamten Buchwesens [Complete Dictionary of the Book], issued in fascicles since 1985. A few articles on subjects not yet covered in that work were written for the present work. Some articles were adapted for the new context and supplied with updated bibliographies. In some cases, articles have been abridged. The selection of borrowed articles was obviously determined by the amount of space available in the two planned volumes.

To base a new, compact reference work on an already existing, comprehensive work is not a bad idea. However, a number of articles were not—or were inadequaately—adapted to the new setting. For example, the article on the Corpus juris canonici informs the reader of everything but the relevance of these legal manuscripts to the art of book illumination.

Among the strengths of the lexicon are the articles on specific, individual manuscripts, useful primarily for interested lay persons and beginning students. But hardly any of the authors of these articles takes the trouble to include such basic information as the location of the manuscript or shelf mark. Finally, the selection of headwords is not systematic and is frequently arbitrary. The “network of reliable, current information” is not as well constructed as the book blurb claims. Anyone with access to the Lexikon des gesamten Buchwesens will find very little new information here. [wm/rc]

Herfurths schönste Seiten: das buchgraphische Werk 1972-2008; eine Bibliographie [Herfurth’s Finest Pages: Book Art, 1972-2008. A Bibliography]. Herbert Kästner. Rudolstadt: Burgart-Presse, 2009. 143 p. ill. 31 cm. (Bibliographischer Druck der Burgart-Presse Jens Henkel, 8). ISBN 978-3-910206-70-0: EUR 60

Previous volumes in this series include bibliographies of the book art of Gertrud Caspari (see RREO 95-4-515), Hans Alexander Müller (see RREA 5:150), Werner Klemke (see RREA 5:149), and Fritz Kredel (see RREA 9:45). This latest volume is devoted to book illustration by the GDR artist Egbert Herfurth, an arguably more significant figure. Preceded by a short biography of Herfurth and an introductory essay by Lothar Lang, the bibliography lists books completely illustrated by Herfurth (130 in total), his illustrated bindings (49), and contributed illustrations (130). A bibliography of publications about the artist is also included. [sh/cjm]

Russische Buchillustration [Russian Book Illustration]. Ed Bodo Zelinsky, Jessica Kravets, and Michael Müller. Köln: Böhlau, 2009. 267 p. ill. 30 cm. (Literarische Bilderwelten, 9). ISBN 978-3-412-22505-6: EUR 39.90

This latest volume in the series Literarische Bilderwelten [Pictorial Worlds in Literature] is dedicated to the history of book illustration in Russia. The six essays that form the first section examine the stages in the development of Russian book art from the middle of the 19th to the end of the 20th century. Section two contains 33 examples of illustrated books, demonstrating a wide variety of techniques. The volume highlights a complex relationship between pictorial matter and text—often a classic of Russian literature—in Russian book art. While most of the illustrators in this work are perhaps unknown outside Russia, some famous artists—such as Marc Chagall, who in the 1920s provided many illustrations to editions of Nicolai Gogol’s Dead Souls—are included. Frequently these works appeared in limited editions of several hundred copies, signed by the artist and representing objects of value to fine art and book connoisseurs. [ks/as]

Das Schicksal der DDR-Verlage: die Privatisierung und ihre Konsequenzen [The Fate of GDR Publishers: Privatization and Its Consequences]. Christoph Links. Berlin: Links, 2009. 352 p. ill. 22 cm. (Zwischenwelt: Jahrbuch für antifaschistische Literatur und Exilliteratur, 9). ISBN 978-3-86153-523-2: EUR 24.90

This readable, extensively researched, and meticulously documented study of East German publishers is a revised and updated version of Christoph Links’ 2008 doctoral dissertation. After working at the Aufbau-Verlag Berlin und Weimar, the author founded the publishing house Chr. Links Verlag in 1989. While there are other histories of the East German publishing industry, this study is unique in its focus on the post-GDR (German Democratic Republic) era. With German reunification, the once-thriving, largely state-regulated, East German publishing industry went into decline as publishers were forced to privatize. Of the 78 licensed publishers in 1988 East Germany, slightly more than half still existed in some form in 2006, although many only as offices for western publishers; only 12 of the publishers continued to operate as independent publishing houses.

The book includes scholarly discussions on the development of property rights in the Soviet Occupied Zone and the GDR from 1945-1989, the transition period of 1989 through 1990, the Treuhandanstalt [Trust Agency] and its partly ineffective privatization of East German public properties from 1990-1994, and the results of that process. The bulk of the text is made up of individual publisher profiles arranged into five sections by type of publisher: state-run publishing houses founded during the GDR regime, state-run houses that pre-existed the GDR, party and organization publishers, religious publishers, and private publishers (which were in part supervised by the state). The articles include a history of each publisher through 2007, ownership information, number of titles published annually, sales, current location of the company’s archives, and an account of its restructuring after reunification. The appendix offers a clear and useful overview of ownership changes and a comparison of 1988 and 2007 data for the number of titles produced, staff size, and retention rates. The text is further enhanced by an index. [rf/rg]

Bibliografija / Ludowe Nakladnistwo Domowina = Bibliografie / Domowina- Verlag [[Bibliography of the Domowina Publishing House]. Bautze: Domowina- Verlag. 1958/2007. 2008. 283 p. ISBN 978-3-7420-2119-9: EUR 2

The Domowina Publishing House in Bautzen, the specialized publisher for everything having to do with Sorbian subjects, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1998 with the publication of the Bibliografija Ludoweho Nakladnistwa Domowina 1958-1997 (see RREA 5:77). This expanded edition has been published for the Company’s 50th anniversary.

The Domowina Publishing House in Bautzen, the specialized publisher for everything having to do with Sorbian subjects, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1998 with the publication of the Bibliografija Ludoweho Nakladnistwa Domowina 1958-1997 (see RREA 5:77). This expanded edition has been published for the Company’s 50th anniversary.

The 3,739 numbered titles (compared to 3,202 in the 1999 edition) are organized into six subject groups: (1) Non-Fiction Works, (2) Belles-Lettres, (3) Pedagogical Literature, (4) Newspapers and Journals, (5) Works for Teachers and Educators in the Bilingual Area, and (6) Sound Recordings. Section 3 consists of more than 90 pages of works, which attests to the Sorbs’ efforts to preserve and cultivate their language. Works in the first section are probably of the greatest interest to research libraries, although it includes a number of popular books about folk customs and costumes intermixed with more scholarly works. There is a personal-name index but no subject index. The chapter on the company itself (p. 256-271) contains only one page on the history of the Domowina Publishing House. A bit more information about the company’s fortunes, particularly since 1990, can be found in Das Schicksal der DDR-Verlage: die Privatisierung und ihre Konsequenzen (see RREA 15/16:52). [sh/ga]

Der Verlag Neue Gesellschaft und seine Bücher 1954-1989: Horst Heidermann zum 80. Geburtstag. [The “New Society” Publishing House and Its Books, 1954- 1989: For Horst Heidermann on his 80th Birthday]. Rüdiger Zimmermann. Bonn: Dietz, 2009. 125 p. ill. 19 cm. ISBN 978-3-8012-0395-5: EUR 8

This small book makes good on a promise that its compiler made to the honoree. Horst Heidermann, once business manager of the J.H.W. Dietz publishing house, pointed out that the titles of Neue Gesellschaft publishing company, all of whose rights were acquired by Dietz in 1988, had been omitted in the Festschrift Empor zum Licht: 125 Jahre Verlag J. H. W. Dietz (see RREA 13:56). This omission is made good here in exemplary fashion.

Preceding the bibliography is a sketch of the publishing house’s history. It was formed in 1954 to publish the theoretical Social Democratic journal Die Neue Gesellschaft and was bought by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in 1968 after the 1966-67 recession led to a general decline of the Social Democratic press. Heidermann was the director of the foundation’s research institute. In 1973 Dietz had to stop its production, and Neue Gesellschaft took over the famous Social Democratic publishing house; the two publishers merged in 1988 under the name J.H.W. Dietz Nachf. [Successors]. This solid bibliography provides material needed for an analysis, not yet written, of the effectiveness and influence of the Neue Gesellschaft publishing company. The entries arranged chronologically, which is useful for a publishing house that responds to political issues. A list of the company’s numbered series comes before main bibliography, which has 570 entries. There is an author index, as well as 23 illustrations. The volume could serve as a model for similar works about larger publishing houses. Rüdiger Zimmermann points out that almost all Neue Gesellschaft out-of-print publications held in libraries are requested and used, forming a basis for current discourse. [rf/gh]

Wissen für die Zukunft: 150 Jahre Oldenbourg-Verlag [Knowledge for the Future: 150 Years of the Oldenbourg Publishing Company]. Reinhard Wittmann. München: Oldenbourg, 2008. 383 p. ill. 26 cm. ISBN 978-3-486-58822-4: EUR 64.80

The binding and cover of this volume are a striking dark blue, the publisher’s traditional color. The firm was owned by the Oldenbourg family for five generations as a producer of specialty and scholarly publications, schoolbooks, and graphic arts materials. Two previous publications by Johannes Hohlfeld chronicled its history from this perspective: Das Geschlecht Oldenburg zur Oldenburg und die Münchener Verlegerfamilie Oldenbourg: eine Familienchronik über vier Jahrhunderte [The Oldenbourg zur Oldenbourg Clan and the Munich Publisher Family Oldenbourg: A Family Chronology Over Four Centuries], (München, 1940) and Werden und Wesen des Hauses R. Oldenbourg Muenchen: ein geschichtlicher Überblick 1858-1958 [Development and Essence of the House of R. Oldenbourg, Munich: A Historical Survey, 1858-1958] (München, 1958). Since 2004 the Oldenbourg publishing group has been part of the Cornelson holding company. This Festschrift for its 150th anniversary was written by a neutral author, one of Germany’s best-known book historians. The organization is also noteworthy. The unavoidable chronology takes up less than half of the book. A masterpiece of book history follows, with three case studies on the history of the publishing house’s influence. A list of the employees in 2008, a bibliography, and list of sources, and indexes complete the book. Another feature is the wide outer margin on both left and right pages, which offer small illustrations or annotations.

The well-written history section is divided into two periods: 1858-1945 and 1945- 2008. The family’s decisions and its systematic expansion of its publishing program get the most space, though the cultural and historical background is not disregarded. The masterful case studies that follow describe projects in the company’s three main areas of publishing: technology, scholarship, and school books. The first of these chapters is devoted to space travel and its introduction into the area of technology with books by Max Valier and Hermann Oberth. One gets an impression how hard it was to establish a new field, not yet academically recognized, in the book market. The second case study looks at two journals in the Third Reich, the literary journal Corona and the Historische Zeitschrift [History Journal], in order to show how the National Socialists never succeeded in making German intellectual life completely toe the party line. The third and longest case study is concerned with primers, a branch of the schoolbook production. It includes a section by Gisela Teistler on learning to read with Oldenbourg primers, which takes the Festschrift to a successful conclusion. [rf/gh]

B. G. Teubner zum 225. Geburtstag [B. G. Teubner on his 225th Birthday]. Jürgen Weiß. Leipzig: Edition am Gutenbergplatz, 2009. 127 p. ill. 21 cm. (Eagle, 35). ISBN 978-3-937219-35-6: EUR 18.50

Trained as a printer, Benedictus Gotthelf Teubner (1784-1856) inherited in1811 the Leipzig Book printing company from his deceased brother-in-law J.C. Weinedel. Then Benedictus went on to found his own printing house known as B. G. Teubner, which by 1824 had become established as a publishing house. The year 2011 would have been an excellent jubilee year, if the firm were still in existence. The company was handed over to the Stuttgart-based Teubner Verlag and its headquarters moved to Leipzig in 1991. In 1999, operations in both locations were quietly sold to Bertelsmann, and in 2003 B. G. Teubner kept its name after being sold to a British holding company. In 2008 Teubner was joined with Vieweg to become Vieweg+Teubner (www.viewegteubner.de), and at the same time K. G. Saur assumed Teubner‘s Klassische Altertumswissenschaft [Classsical Studies] list. Currently Vieweg+Teubner is owned by Springer and resides in Wiesbaden. The Teubner back list is found in the Museum für Buch- und Schriftkunst [Museum for the Art of Books and Writing] at the German National Library in Leipzig.

Bendictus Gotthelf Teubner was the 11th of 12 children, the son of a Lutheran pastor. At age 14 he began an apprenticeship in Dresden. He built up his own printing business during the Napolenic era, as the German book trade went into decline. Teubner acquired a leading reputation for being able to handle difficult mathematical symbols and foreign-language scripts. In 1820 he acquired the Leipzig Offizin and for his friend Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus he established a second printing house. In 1831 he acquired the Leipzig Zeitung, and in 1834 the Koenig & Bauer rapid-press, which took on contracts for printing official publications of the Saxon State Parliament. In1835 he began printing the Börsenblatt für den deutschen Buchhandel, the official weekly journal of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

In 1856, Leipzig City Council member Teubner died, leaving behind one of the most important publishing houses in Germany, along with a well-ordered mathematics publishing operation and a branch operation for the publishing of Latin and Greek texts that grew into the renowned series Bibliotheca scriptorium Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana. This 2009 text provides a good insight into the life and influence of the founder of the B. G. Teubner printing house. [rf/sas]

Brill: 325 jaar uitgeven voor de wetenschap = Brill: 325 Years of Scholarly Publishing. Sytze van der Veen. Leiden: Brill, 2008. 180 p. ill. 26 cm. ISBN 978-90-04- 17032-2: EUR 20

A year before Sytze van der Veen compiled a Festschrift for Erasmus booksellers (see RREA 15/16:58) he assembled this festschrift (not exactly on an even-numbered anniversary) for Brill, the oldest extant publishing house in the Netherlands and one of the most significant international scholarly publishers in the humanities, particularly for Middle Eastern and Asian studies.

The richly illustrated celebratory volume is chronologically divided into five chapters. The first chapter, „In Olden Times…“, covers the era from the founding by Jordaan Luchtmans in 1683 to the arrival of the Brill family on the scene in the early 19th century: the firm took on the name of E.J. Brill in 1848. (After several detours, the Luchtmans archive in its entirety finally found its way to the Amsterdam University Library.) The second chapter, „The Firm of E.J. Brill,“ covering the years 1848 to 1896, narrates an expansion from publisher and printer to bookseller of new and antiquarian titles. A publication of the Lord‘s Prayer from 1855 in 14 Asian languages displays the exotic font capabilities the press had developed. The third chapter (1896-1945) begins with the metamorphosis from a privately owned family company to a publicly traded one—in which stock-conscious capacity it remains to this day. In this period comes the beginning of the Encyclopedia of Islam under the leadership of Cornelis Peltenberg, who worked on it from1906 to 1934. His successor from 1934 to 1947, Theunis Folkers, oversaw a technological modernization of the printing operation but also accepted lucrative contracts from the Nazis during the German occupation, earning him accusations of being a collaborator. The fourth chapter, „The Expanding Universe of Brill, 1945-2008,“ relates a difficult restart after the Second World War, subsequent successful growth, and unsuccessful attempts by mega-publishers Kluwer and Elsevier to acquire the company. In its turn, Brill took over scholarly publishing houses itself, such as Humanities Press (1998) and Martinus Nijhoff (2003; not to be confused with Martinus Nijhoff book vendor division, now a part of Coutts/Ingram). The final chapter, „Brill Present and Futuren“ consists of more illustrations than text, and we learn that Brill is not such a „small“ publisher after all, producing on average 600 monographs a year and some 100 journals. In 2008 Brill put its entire company archives on permanent loan at the Amsterdam University Library, thus complementing and continuing the Luchtmans Archive that documents the early years of the enterprise.

An appendix lists directors but otherwise lacks a timeline of events. A print bibliography of Brill publications, particularly for the 17th and 18th centuries, though unavailable would be highly desirable. Yet there is auxiliary help in the Internet: on the Brill Web site (http://www.brill.nl/about/brill-325/325-years-published-titles) a list of Luchtmans publications produced from 1683 to 1800 can be downloaded from the Short Title Catalogue Netherlands (http://www.kb.nl/stcn/index-en.htmlSTCN) as can four unattractive Excel files with titles, authors and publication dates for 1683-1899, 1900- 1950, 1951-1999 and 2000-2008. [sh/rdh]

75 Jahre Erasmus Boekhandel Amsterdam-Paris = 75 jaar Erasmus Boekhandel Amsterdam- Parijs [75 Years of the Erasmus Bookdealer in Amsterdam and Paris]. Sytze van der Veen. Transl. Helga Marx and Rosi Wiegmann. Amsterdam: Erasmus Antiquariaat en Boekhandel, 2009. 96 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 978-94- 90234-03-4: gratis

The time period covered by this „narrative Festschrift“ constitutes well over 75 years, since it necessarily begins with the early life of the founder of the company, the Jewish publisher, printer, antiquarian specialist, bibliographer, collector, and (of course) book dealer, Abraham Horodisch, who lived the life of an emigrant. Born in Lódz in 1898, he grew up in Königsberg and Berlin. In 1920 he founded the Euphorion-Verlag in 1920, one of the important bibliophilic publishing houses between the two world wars, along with a customized hand printing operation and a society for friends of the Jewish book.

World events led him in the early 1930s to Amsterdam, where he opened an antiquarian bookshop but was prevented for a number of years by the „professional envy“ of the Dutch book trade association from establishing a regular bookstore. Then came the German occupation, and he was only able to escape to Switzerland with his family at the last possible moment in 1942. Returning in 1945 after the war, he began to build up the devastated business with help from a nephew of his wife. Gradually it developed into an enterprise that flourished as a library supplier (made possible by personal contact with foreign suppliers, particularly in Germany and the United States). Horodisch died in 1987, shortly before his 90th birthday.

The further history of the Erasmus business heavily involves Kurt Tschenett and his wife Sasha Brunsmann, who had already earned their bibliographic spurs at Blackwell North America and Starkmann Library Services before taking the helm in Amsterdam. Their era involved the sale of new publications in the humanities and above all in the fine arts. It was perhaps inevitable, then, that a branch office would open in Paris, as occurred in 1990. This Festschrift, compiled from publications by and about Horodisch, from company archives and from interviews with current owners and with principals and eyewitnesses from the 1960s and 1970s, is dedicated to Kurt Tschenett, who will pass the business along to a new generation. [sh/rdh]

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Last update: January 2013 [LC]
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