Winner of SHARP's 2016 DeLong Book History Prize

BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.

  • New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2015.
  • 7.5 x 9.7 inches
  • hardcover, dust jacket
  • 336 pages
  • ISBN: 9781584563136

Price: $95.00 save 15% $80.75  other currencies

Order Nr. 108701

"This book caught the judges by surprise. No one expected a book about Swedish bookbinding between 1840 and 1914, no matter how excellent or well-researched, to fill an important disciplinary gap in the history of the book more broadly. Yet this is a ground-breaking study of the history of publishers bindings. Richly illustrated with hundreds of examples, this riveting book offers a detailed chronology as well as useful insights into the material realities of modern book productionuseful to any modern book historian, even those who never thought about Swedish publishing before. Bound to be Modern explores books and cloth bindings as material culture and a part of the modern life. Elegantly translated by Alan Crozier and lavishly produced by Oak Knoll Press, with graphic design by Mats Larsson, this book shows how regional book history can make a huge contribution to the toolkit and knowledge of what is now a global field."

-- Kirsti Salmi-Niklander, on behalf of SHARP's judging panel


Bound to Be Modern
is the most comprehensive study to date on the emergence and function of publishers' cloth bindings. It brings together issues of aesthetics, technique, economy, and social change in order to explain why publishers in the 19th century began to have their books bound, and why decorated clothbindings were so successful as the Western world transitioned into modernity.

This study traces the history of publishers' bindings in a Swedish context--giving the first English-language account of the history of the Swedish 19th century book market--but also makes clear that edition binding was an international affair, with machines, designs, and ideas crossing borders as much as the literary works themselves did. Lundblad takes an interdisciplinary approach, referencing art and design theorists as well as social scientists and philosophers to analyze the complex interactions between books, the book market, and society at large, and to show that bindings not only mirror their historical context but also contribute to the making of culture.

Using over 150 color illustrations, Bound to Be Modern depicts the visual transformation of book covers from traditional ornamental designs to illustrative depictions of modern life, and shows how these changes reflected new ways of interacting with books and literature. The illustrations show not only a wide range of bindings, but also publishers' catalogues, machinery, the interiors of binderies, book stores from different time periods, and commercial graphics. Comparisons with advertising, packaging, posters, and interior decoration demonstrate the place of books within the wider contexts of visual and material culture.

This thorough and well researched study is based on a doctoral thesis and nearly ten years of research, and contributes new knowledge on 19th century binding practices, binding design, and book culture. It is a must for students, scholars, and book collectors who deal with Victorian book culture.

Kristina Lundblad is associate professor in the Division of Book History at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences at Lund University, Sweden.

BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914. Kristina Lundblad.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.
BOUND TO BE MODERN: PUBLISHERS' CLOTHBINDINGS AND THE MATERIAL CULTURE OF THE BOOK, 1840 - 1914.