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Andrew Piper

McGill University

Department of German Studies


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Andrew Piper is an assistant professor in the Department of German Studies at McGill University. His book, Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age (Chicago, forthcoming in 2009), explores the capacity of literature to shape and lend meaning to the remarkable social investment in books that occurred in Europe and North America during the years 1790-1840. In this study, he examines a variety of nineteenth-century book formats (including collected editions, critical editions, miscellanies, translations, and illustrated books) to explore how the physical form of the book shaped readers' interactions with their texts and how such texts shaped readers' understandings of the medium of the printed book. His essay, 'Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything,' appeared in the PMLA special issue on 'The History of the Book and the Idea of Literature' (2006) and was awarded the annual essay prize by the Goethe Society of North America. His current research project, which is supported by SSHRC and FQRSC, focuses on the relationship between the genre of autobiography and the medium of print through the examination of the autobiographical writings of J.W. Goethe. In examining Goethe's elaborate self-presentation in print (his eleven volumes of autobiographical writings, his over fifty advertisements of his own work, and the numerous portraits of him that circulated in books, as prints, or on coins) this project aims to contribute to our understanding of the history of how media impact representations of the self.

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