NEW MEDIA: Chapbook

Dennis Jerz, of Jerz’s Literacy Weblog, was kind enough to comment on my 1500th post as well as on the New Media booklet I produced at the end of the semester.  One word he used caught my eye, and in seeking a definition, came up with this:

"A chapbook is a small book or pamphlet containing poems, ballads, stories, or religious tracts (dictionary).  The term is still used today to refer to short, inexpensive booklets."  (MIT)

Reading further, I found myself falling in love with the word:

"Among the types of content contained in chapbooks were romantic tales of chivalry, religious and moral instruction, cookbooks, guides to fortune telling and magic, or bawdy stories full of innuendo.

"Chapmen traveled through England as early as the 1570s (Watt) selling books to whoever they could."

I mean, how cool is that?  I think that a book on new media well falls within the definition of "guides to fortune telling and magic," and had I included some of the other category entries from Spinning, might qualify as well under "bawdy stories full of innuendo."

Do visit the MIT website as there is an interesting review of a plot summary of a 1700s chapbook titled "Guy of Warwick."

In the meantime, while I sit in the comfy safety of my living room while a howling wind blows a blizzard of snow sideways outside my door, I think ahead to Spring, and visions of street corners set up with a small table and tin cup, and pile of chapbooks.

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