Print Culture in the Making

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Abstract

This article sets out to understand the ways a publishing house can be an actor intervening in the agency of authors, guiding and even determining the performance of the writers, translators, and adapters featured in the catalogue. The empirical angle is supported by an in-depth case-study of the Romano Torres publishing house, a Lisbon publisher which worked in the realm of the Portuguese language between 1885 and 1886, and 1990. To examine publishing in the case analyzed here is to understand how an intricate system of relations and their context shapes the actions and dispositions of agents. This reveals how the autonomy of each field in cultural production and circulation can only be explained by its permeability. This article is interested in capturing the ways a mass-consumption publishing house ends up shaping a catalogue and its forms of circulation by being involved simultaneously in the transformation of the book market and ways of getting books to their readers.