DOCKSIDE READING, hydrocolonialism and the Custom House

: Hofmeyr (I.)

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121pp., illus., paperback, First SA Edition, Johannesburg, 2022


First published in the USA in 2022.

“What happens to books when they cross borders? Isabel Hofmeyr sets her radically new history of literature not in the library but at the dock. In pages where authors and scholars are upstaged by censors, customs officers, and even dockhands, she challenges literary critics to think beyond the text as a static entity tied to a single nation or a single landmass. This is that rare book that will make it impossible to continue doing business as usual - for literary critics, for legal scholars, and for book historians.” Leah Price, author of What We Talk about When We Talk About Books: The history and future of reading

“As we have come to expect from Isabel Hofmeyr, Dockside Reading is dazzlingly creative, intellectually playful, and immaculately crafted. This is a brilliant history of the ideas and textual forms that emerged from the damp crates that customs officials scoured at the water’s edge for signs of contamination. Setting sail from South Africa, ranging across the world’s oceans, this is a quietly revolutionary, fully aquatic literary history for our times.” Sunil Amrith, Dhawan Professor of History, Yale University

Isabel Hofmeyr is Professor Emeritus at the University of the Witwatersrand and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University. She is co-editor of Ten Books That Shaped the British Empire: Creating an imperial commons and author of Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in slow reading.