Book Chapter

Sensing the Novel/Seeing the Book/Selling the Goods



Squires C (2020) Sensing the Novel/Seeing the Book/Selling the Goods. In: Lazendorfer T & Norrick-Ruhl C (eds.) The Novel as Network: Forms, Ideas, Commodities. New Directions in Book History. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 251-270.

This chapter examines the gatekeeping orientation, evaluative processes and decision-making role of the publisher’s commissioning editor through a conceptual framework of sensing the novel, seeing the book and selling the goods. This framework incorporates the affective, and often bodily processes, of reading novels (‘sensing’), alongside the matching of taste to communicative processes and an envisioning of the material book-as-product (‘seeing’), culminating in the commercial impetus of books-as-goods (‘selling’). Through semi-structured interviews, the chapter examines the sensory and passional ways in editors recount their experiences of commissioning as a lived, felt experience but also as a professional discourse and an economic practice. As such, the chapter argues that sensing-seeing-selling is a networked praxis in which aesthetic objects, individual professionalised readers, emotional labour, publishing processes, company formations, material embodiments and market environments come together.

Title of seriesNew Directions in Book History
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online31/10/2020
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publisher URL
Place of publicationBasingstoke

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Professor Claire Squires

Professor Claire Squires

Professor in Publishing Studies, English Studies