“a rich meditation on types of authorship” — Writing with Scissors wins “highly recommended” designation from Choice

This review just in from Choice, the Association for College and Research Libraries review journal. Thrilled that an art historian likes it so much!

“Clipping” was a widespread means of circulating the printed word in the late 19th century. Papers picked up wire stories, and individuals also cut out items for scrapbooks that were so popular that Mark Twain patented a widely marketed self-pasting version. Analyzing examples from Civil War veterans, early feminists, and Progressive Era African Americans, Garvey’s well-researched study argues that this undervalued form of American literature records the ideas and accomplishments of groups with little power in mainstream publishing. As she shows, the scrapbook could become a weapon against oppression. With “the subtle language of juxtaposition,” scrapbookers could use the same words to support diverse political positions and to reconstruct suppressed histories. Written by literature professor Garvey (New Jersey City Univ.), this book offers a rich meditation on the types of authorship encouraged by practices of reading in the 19th century. However, in its emphasis on the materiality of its subject and its nuanced reading of the multivalence of both word and image, it should appeal to a broad range of readers interested in visual culture and theories of communication–especially because of Garvey’s judicious comparisons to contemporary digital strategies of engaging text. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. — E. Hutchinson, Barnard College and Columbia University

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