Faculty and Staff Biography

Gordon B. Neavill
Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
3rd floor Kresge
Fax 313-577-7563

Youtube Videos

Degrees and certifications

Ph.D., 1984, University of Chicago
A.M., 1969, University of Chicago
University College London (non-degree course, 1966-67)
A.B., 1966, Oberlin College

Recent publications

Most recent publication

"The Illustrated Modern Library," Printing History new series no. 20 (July 2016): 29-42.

Canonicity, Reprint Series, and Copyright, in The Culture of the Publisher's Series, vol. 1: Authors, Publishers and the Shaping of Taste, edited by John Spiers (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).  This was the opening keynote paper at the Culture of the Publisher's Series conference at the University of London.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/52


The Evolution of a Literary Canon: A Descriptive Bibliography of the Modern Library Series, 1917-1991

This massive project is being published electronically by the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. It includes bibliographical descriptions and publishing histories of the 763 titles published in the Modern Library series between 1917 and 1986. The Modern Library, published initially by Boni and Liveright and from 1925 on by Random House, was the most tangible representation of the canon in the American cultural marketplace. The project tracks the bibliographical evolution of the books, some of which remained continuously in print for more than 70 years, through successive printings, type settings, and jacket designs, includes publishing history information from the Liveright and Random House archives, charts paratextual information such as introductions added and dropped and evolving jacket descriptions, and documents trends in sales of individual titles. The project has been in progress for more than 30 years. Each chronological chapter documents Modern Library titles first published in a given year. I am currently submitting my final drafts to the University of Virginia at the rate of two chapters a week. G. Thomas Tanselle, the retired vice-president of the Guggenheim Foundation and president of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, states in his annual letter as president of the Society (February 22, 2011):  "The next addition to the list will be Gordon B. Neavill's bibliography of the Modern Library. It is a major contribution to publishing history and an exemplary work of bibliographical scholarship, and we look forward to adding it to our distinguished list of electronic publications."

Digital information issues

Archiving Electronic Journals (with Mary Ann Shebl as second author), Serials Review 12 (Winter 1995): 13-21. 

Libraries and Texts in the Electronic Environment, in Scholarly Communication in an Electronic Environment: Issues for Research Libraries, ed. Robert Sidney Martin (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 1993), pp. 53-69.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/48

Preservation of Computer-Based and Computer-Generated Records, in Conserving and Preserving Materials in Nonbook Formats, ed. Kathryn Luther Henderson and William T Henderson (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 1991): 45-60. Available electronically: https://www.ideals.uiuc.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/587/Neavill_Preservation.pdf?sequence=2 or http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/55

Electronic Publishing, Libraries, and the Survival of Information, Library Resources & Technical Services 28 (January/March 1984): 76-89. http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/47

This is one of the first articles to address questions about the short life-expectancies of information in digital form. It has been my most cited article, with over 80 citations identified to date. The article has been translated into Italian and reprinted in India.

Book history

Publishing in Wartime: The Modern Library Series during the Second World War, Library Trends 55 (Winter 2007): 583-96.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/62

From Printing History to History of the Book, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 23, no. 1 (March 1996): 225-37. Available electronically: http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/crcl/article/viewFile/3630/2918 or http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/58

The Modern Library Series and American Cultural Life, Journal of Library History 16 (Spring 1981): 241-52. http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/54

The Modern Library Series: Format and Design, 1917-1977, Printing History 1 (1979): 26-37. http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/56

Book Distribution and Marketing in the United States: A Review Article, Library Quarterly 47 (January 1977): 62-70.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/46

Role of the Publisher in the Dissemination of Knowledge, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 421 (September 1975): 23-33.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/44

Reprinted with revisions in Perspectives on Publishing, ed. Philip G. Altbach and Sheila McVey (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1976), pp. 47-57.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/45

Victor Gollancz and the Left Book Club, Library Quarterly 41 (July 1971): 197-215.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/53 


Bibliography of the Published Works of Professor Edward Shils (with Christine C. Schnusenberg), in Edward Shils, The Order of Learning: Essays on the Contemporary University, ed. Philip G. Altbach (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1997): 341-67.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/59

Has the American Public Library Lost Its Purpose? Bar Out Nothing Because It Is Strange, Public Libraries 33 (July/August 1994): 195-96. 

The King Report on Library Education, Library Quarterly 57 (October 1987): 429-34.  This is a 3-part review article; the first and third parts are by Robert M. Hayes and Leigh Estabrook, deans of the Graduate Schools of Library and Information Science at UCLA and the University of Illinois.  http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/slisfrp/51

Additional publications can be found at http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/do/search/?q=Neavill

25 book reviews in Libraries and Culture, Library Quarterly, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Publishing History, and SHARP News.

Awards and honors

Opening keynote speaker, Culture of the Publisher's Series Conference, University of London, October 2007

Academic interests

History of Books, Printing and Publishing; Cultural Implications of the Digital Revolution; Organization of Knowledge; Descriptive Bibliography