2013-2014 Book History Colloquium at Columbia University
The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.
Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.
All sessions take place 6pm in 523 Butler Library, Columbia Morningside Campus, unless otherwise noted.
September 26 (Thursday)
Joseph Howley, Assistant Professor of Classics, Columbia University
How to Read Books Doing Things in Imperial Rome
Between the Alexandrian aesthetics of the poetic book roll and the modern values of the industrially printed codex lies the world of the Roman book. This talk examines some uses of the material text in Roman prose authors such as Seneca the Elder, Suetonius, and Aulus Gellius, including its use as a weapon, its subjection to destruction, and its relationship to speech and thought, to explore how Romans imagined the book as a technology and force in their world.
Joseph Howley works on the intellectual culture of the Roman Empire, processes of mediation in the Roman Imperial world, problems of miscellany and other quasi-literary forms, and the ancient and modern history of the book. He is currently preparing a book on Noctes Atticae of Aulus Gellius, exploring the way Gellius’s neglected work frames, narrates, and prompts processes of critical and self-aware learning in the context of second-century Rome.
October 10 (Thursday)
Panel on Handmade Books, Remade Genres
Rachel Feder, "Marginal Experiments"
Ellen Gruber Garvey, "Repurposed Books"
Karen Sánchez-Eppler, "Records of Grief"
This panel brings together three scholars who work on 19th-century American and British handmade books. In"Marginal Experiments" Rachel Fader will explore the connections between nineteenth-century women's daily writing and the history of experimental poetry. Ellen Gruber Garvey's talk will focus on nineteenth-century scrapbooks made not in blank books but by repurposing existing books and the complex dialogs between the printed book and the scrapbook maker's intervention. Karen Sanchez-Eppler will focus her talk on the historiographical implications of working with handmade books on Mary Bacon’s Mourning Journal.
Rachel Feder is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of English at Rutgers University. Her current research focuses on nineteenth-century commonplace books, book history, and experimental poetics. Ellen Gruber Garvey's most recent book, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance came out from Oxford University Press in 2013. She is also the author of The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture (OUP, 1996) Winner of a SHARP Prize for Best Book, and a Professor of English at New Jersey City University. Karen Sánchez-Eppler is L. Stanton Williams 1941 Professor of American Studies and English at Amherst College. The author of Touching Liberty: Abolition, Feminism and the Politics of the Body (1993) and Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (2005), she is currently working on two book projects The Unpublished Republic: Manuscript Cultures of the Mid-Nineteenth Century US and In the Archives of Childhood: Personal and Historical Pasts.
October 24 (Thursday)
Tour of the Barnard Zine Library at 5pm
Janice Radway, Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communications, Northwestern University
Girls, Zines, and their Afterlives: On the Significance of Multiple Networks and Itineraries of Dissent
Dissident and non-conforming girls and young women developed an interest in what are now called “girl zines” through a number of different routes, with a range of different interests, and at different moments over the course of the last twenty years. This social, material and temporal variability raises interesting and important questions about whether “girl zines” should be thought of as a unitary phenomenon and, correlatively, whether the girl zine explosion should be thought of as an event, a social movement, a conversation, a political intervention, or something else. Drawing on oral history interviews with former girl zine producers as well as with zine librarians, archivists, and commentators, this presentation will raise questions about the recent history of feminism and its relationship to other “new social movements” at a time of significant economic, political, and technological change in the 1980s, 90s, and into the 21st century.
Janice Radway is Radway is the author of Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature, and A Feeling for Books: The Book- of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle Class Desire. In addition, Radway co-edited American Studies: An Anthology and Print in Motion: The Expansion of Publishing and Reading in the United States, 1880-1945, which is Volume IV of A History of the Book in America. She has served as the editor of American Quarterly, the official journal of the American Studies Association.
Co-sponsored with the Barnard Zine Library, Barnard College
November 4 (Monday)
Randall McLeod, Emeritus Professor of English, University of Toronto
The Birth of Italics
The 1501 Venetian Vergil was the first book printed entirely in italics. On the verso of the title page, the printer, Aldo Manuzio, celebrated the type-cutter, Francesco da Bologna. (The two fell out a year later, however, over ownership of the new typeface.) Curiously, production began before all the sorts had been created: all the letters were in place, but not all the ligatures. The trickling on stream of some fifteen of the latter points to a bizarre schedule of composition and printing. A material reading of the text will resurrect this schedule in surprising detail.
Randall McLeod has published on editing Shakespearean sonnets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and John Donne. He is the inventor of the McLeod Portable Collator, a stereoscopic device for comparing texts as images, and sometimes publishes as 'Random Cloud.'
NOVEMBER 14 (THURSDAY) at 5pm
please note the earlier time
William H. Sherman, Professor of English, University of York
The Reader's Eye: Between Annotation and Illustration
Recent scholarship in the lively field of marginalia has treated readers' marks almost exclusively as a verbal phenomenon--as words, that is, next to other words. But in doing so we have lost sight of sight itself, and the ways in which readers used images as well as words to make their books beautiful, meaningful, and useful. Between medieval illumination and modern illustration, there are many traces of reading as a visual mode, signs that we have been slow to see and study and for which we are poorly served by both methodology and terminology. This illustrated lecture will consider the range of images produced by readers between 1450 and 1750, and will suggest that reading was closely bound up with seeing--and even drawing--across the Medieval/Renaissance divide.
William Sherman's recent publications include Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (University of Pennsylvania, 2007) and a special issue of The Huntington Library Quarterly on Prison Writings in Early Modern England. He has edited Shakespeare's Tempest for Norton and Jonson's Alchemist for Cambridge and is now completing the Arden Early Modern Drama edition of Marlowe's Jew of Malta. He is writing a study of visual marginalia called The Reader's Eye and editing a collection of essays--with Juliet Fleming and Adam Smyth--on Renaissance Collage.
Co-sponsored with the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Columbia University
DECEMBER 11 (WEDNESDAY)
A Panel on Personalities in Post-war Publishing
with Loren Glass, Boris Kachka, and Jay Gertzman
Loren Glass is a Professor of English at the University of Iowa and author of Counterculture Colophon: Grove Press, the Evergreen Review, and the Incorporation of the Avant-Garde (Stanford University Press, 2013). Boris Kachka is a journalist and the author of Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America's Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar Straus Giroux (Simon & Schuster, 2013). Jay Gertzman wrote the first biography of the publisher Samuel Roth, this year's Samuel Roth, Infamous Modernist (University Press of Florida, 2013).