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This essay examines the shifting, ideologically situated and contested representations of print texts and technologies in two representative printers' manuals: Joseph Moxon's 1683 Mechanick Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing and John Smith's 1755 The Printer's Grammar. The construction of orderly print is supported in each by changing discourses of sexuality and gender. Moxon's manual celebrates the heterosexual working bodies of print, the laborers whose physical production of print is as important as the text supplied by writers. In Smith, however, the naturalized gendering of a now invisible print privileges only the Author, whose disembodied intellect transcends the physical book.


Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Literature in English, British Isles | Other History