In Early Modern Europe the first readers of a book were not thosewho bought it. They were the scribes who copied the author'sor translator's manuscript, the censors who licensed it, thepublisher who decided to put this title in his catalogue, the copyeditor who prepared the text for the press, divided it and addedpunctuation, the typesetters who composed the pages of the book,and the proof reader who corrected them. The author's handcannot be separated from the printers' mind.
This book is devoted to the process of publication of the worksthat framed their readers' representations of the past or ofthe world. Linking cultural history, textual criticism andbibliographical studies, dealing with canonical works - likeCervantes' Don Quixote or Shakespeare's plays -as well as lesser known texts, Roger Chartier identifies thefundamental discontinuities that transformed the circulation of thewritten word between the invention of printing and the definition,three centuries later, of what we call 'literature'.