The essays gathered in this special issue of JMEMS describe processes of cutting, dismantling, and reassembling printed books in the early modern period. This focus on “collage” techniques in bookmaking should displace the commonsense understanding of the book as an undisturbed whole, as these essays posit alternative, dispersive, and layered models for the book. By showing that cutting and pasting can rightly be recognized as acts of reading and writing, as specific intellectual gestures, these essays upset much of what has hitherto been known or assumed about literacy, composition, and the archive. They challenge cataloguing and descriptive conventions by demonstrating that the division between manuscript and print was not as clear during the print revolution as scholars have assumed, that texts are, at least to some degree, always in state of process and production. This special issue draws attention to the range of media in which early modern texts were “written.”

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