World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Coffee table book

Article Id: WHEBN0002294452
Reproduction Date:

Title: Coffee table book  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Coffee table, Egypt: The Eternal Smile, Raphael Mazzucco, HMAS Rankin (SSG 78), Chrysiridia rhipheus
Collection: Books by Type, Coffee Table Books
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Coffee table book

Coffee table with coffee table book

A coffee table book is an oversized, usually hard-covered book whose place is for display on a table intended for use in an area in which one would entertain guests and from which it can act to inspire conversation. Subject matter is predominantly non-fiction and pictorial (a photo-book). Pages consist mainly of photographs and illustrations, accompanied by captions and small blocks of text, as opposed to long prose. Since they are aimed at anyone who might pick the book up for a light read, the analysis inside is often more basic and with less jargon than other books on the subject. Because of this, the term "coffee table book" can be used pejoratively to indicate a superficial approach to the subject.

In the field of mathematics, a coffee table book is usually a notebook containing a number of mathematical problems and theorems contributed by community meeting in a particular place, or connected by a common scientific interest. One of the most famous was the Scottish Book created by mathematicians at the University of Lvov in the 1930s and 40s.

Contents

  • History 1
  • In popular culture 2
  • Examples of Coffee Table Books 3
  • References 4

History

The concept of a book intended essentially for display over perusal was mentioned by Michel de Montaigne in his 1580 essay "Upon Some Verses of Virgil": "I am vexed that my Essays only serve the ladies for a common movable, a book to lay in the parlor window..."[1] Almost two centuries later, Laurence Sterne in his 1759 comic novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman advanced the more lighthearted view that "As my life and opinions are likely to make some noise in the world, and... be no less read than the Pilgrim's Progress itself- and, in the end, prove the very thing Montaigne dreaded his Essays should turn out, that is, a book for a parlour window..."[2]

In Britain, the term "coffee table book" has been used (in the current sense) at least since the 19th century,[3] and was still in current usage in the mid-1950s.[4]

David Brower is sometimes credited with inventing the "modern coffee table book"[5] While serving as executive director of the Sierra Club, he had the idea for a series of books that combined nature photography and writings on nature, with, as he put it, "a page size big enough to carry a given image’s dynamic. The eye must be required to move about within the boundaries of the image, not encompass it all in one glance." The first such book, "This is the American Earth", with photographs by Ansel Adams and others and text by Nancy Newhall, was published in 1960; the series became known as the "Exhibit Format" series, with 20 titles eventually published.[6]

They have also found uses in propaganda, such as a book on the life of East German leader Walter Ulbricht[7] and another on Albanian leader Enver Hoxha.[8]

Madonna's book Sex is the best-selling coffee table book in history, although it is out of print.

In popular culture

Coffee table books have been featured in many areas of popular culture.

  • In the 1980s, British comedy duo Smith and Jones released The lavishly-tooled Smith and Jones Coffee Table Book[9] — its cover was designed to look as if the book could double as a coffee table.
  • The fifth season (1993–1994) of the sitcom Seinfeld included a story arc involving Kramer wanting to write a coffee table book about coffee tables. His idea was for the coffee table book to have legs built into the back cover and coasters built into the front cover, so the book itself could be turned into a small coffee table. Elaine Benes, who worked for Pendant Publishing, did not think that Kramer's idea was any good, but her boss learned about it and became intrigued to turn it into a book.

Examples of Coffee Table Books

Tuxedo Park: The Gift of Nature, published 2015 by Carol Monderer Publishing, written by Chiu Yin Hempel with photography by Greg Miller is the story of Tuxedo Park’s unspoiled natural environment

References

  1. ^ "Essays by Michel de Montaigne". Oregonstate.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  2. ^ "The novels of Laurence Sterne (Volume 1)" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  3. ^ "Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  4. ^ "Drama: The Quarterly Theatre Review - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  5. ^ "Harold Wood Presentation on H.R. 2715 - LeConte Memorial Lodge". Sierraclub.org. 2003-11-15. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  6. ^ "Natural Visions - Nature on the Coffee Table". 
  7. ^ "Walter Ulbricht — ein Leben für Deutschland, excerpts from the German Propaganda Archive, Calvin College". Calvin.edu. Retrieved 2014-03-28. 
  8. ^ . Tirana: Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies at the Central Committee of the Party of Labour of Albania. 1986.Enver Hoxha: 1908-1985
  9. ^ Jones, Griff Rhys; P. R. McGrath; Clive Anderson (1986). The lavishly-tooled Smith and Jones Coffee Table Book.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.