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Arguing that, in the words of the poet-typographer Robert Bringhurst, “Typography is to literature as musical performance is to composition,” this presentation will explore how typographical choices are essential to acts of textual interpretation. I wish to discuss how type and typography are indeed intrinsic parts of the text which readers encounter and interpret. As a specific case study, we will look at four different editions of the King James Bible to appear since 1611, and examine how biblical type faces are yet one more factor to consider when examining how certain biblical editions and certain biblical texts have been interpreted over the centuries. Biblical type faces have the ability to hold their own meanings, accent in unique ways the words they are relaying, and even contradict the sacred messages they are employed to represent.
This slide lecture will examine the rich tradition of Tibetan book production We will see traditional methods of papermaking, calligraphy, and the carving and printing of woodblocks. A brief overview of the history of Tibetan printing will be given as well as comments on preservation of the Tibetan books and documents.
If publishers or scholars wish to gauge audience reaction to a novel or collection of short stories today, they can interview readers in person or over the phone, videotape focus group discussions, or even sample readers' reviews on amazon.com. Such methods, however, are not available to those scholars of nineteenth-century periodical literature who wish to know what kind of "cultural work" particular fiction texts performed among readers. Complicating matters further is the paucity of primary sources available in this area: the number of people who wrote about their reaction to serially published fictions is extremely small and, compared to the great number who read their fiction in periodical form, statistically insignificant.
This talk will explore the various approaches scholars have used to tackle this problem. It will show how the theories of scholars Gerard Genette and Jerome McGann are especially valuable, for both scholars argue that one must document a work's "paratext," the linguistic and bibliographic codes that surrounded the work in its original site of reception, in order to make the most informed hypotheses we can about readers' responses. Using an eclectic mix of these theories and my own, we will examine a little-known but significant body of work published by American regionalist author Sarah Orne Jewett in religious periodicals. We will investigate the ways in which the bibliographic, and ideological elements that made up the "paratexts" for these sketches, stories, and essays possibly affected the meanings readers constructed from the texts themselves. In turn, seminar participants will be asked to participate in a discussion as to whether these works support or subvert prevailing theories about the cultural work that American regionalist fiction performed in the late nineteenth century.
This will be a largely autobiographical exploration of what it is like to be an operator and director a small, fine arts press. I will explore how and why I came to be doing what I do. As both a book designer and publisher, my talk will cover various encounters with figures such as Walt Whitman, Thomas Bewick, William Morris, T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, the Ladies of Gregynog, Giraldus Cambrensis, The Queen, Gaylord Schanilec and many others feature in this illustrated lecture.
The Graphic Design Press invites members of the History of the Book Seminar to a tour of the printing lab. Come and learn about this unique research lab. You will be given a tour of the lab and a brief discussion of 'letterpress' printing. Afterwards, you will be able to print a two color gretting books.
The story of Venetian Life (1866) is straightforward enough. Combining history, local color, and appreciation of literature and art into an evocation of the day-to-day atmosphere of “The City in the Sea,” it was written by a mostly unknown but ambitious young American who was resident in Venice during the U.S. Civil War and first published by an English publisher who took the risk only when the author committed to placing half the printing elsewhere. The book remained constantly in print for almost 50 years, with the American copyright staying with the same publisher for that entire period, and usually with only one edition available at any time. But over that 50-year period the cultural status of Venetian Life changed, and so in turn did the way it was packaged and presented. Venice, which when Howells first wrote about it suffered under Austrian control, became part of Italy and a premier tourist destination. Howells the unknown became a famous editor (of the Atlantic Monthly), novelist (A Modern Instance and The Rise of Silas Lapham, among others), literary and social critic, and president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Publisher and author acknowledged these shifting conditions-and protected their copyright to the book besides--by introducing changes to content and especially to physical presentation. The studious cultural analysis became the early work of an important American author became a giftbook and an art book. Drawing on my bibliographical research in compiling the complete Howells bibliography, I’ll highlight out the complicated interrelationships of taste, printing technology, publishing efficiency, and copyright savvy contained in the physical design and visual style of this book. The title remained the same, the content remained mostly stable, but Venetian Life was a succession of different objects.
This talk looks at works that have multiple texts and explores how to represent multiplicity and materiality in book form, particularly through versioning. We will take a materially complicated work by Garcia Lorca as a point of departure, considering aspects of Suites that have been silenced thus far, such as censorship, sexuality, collaboration, textual multiplicity, and the bibliographic codes of its original avant-garde publications. Exploring, then, what might be gained or lost by representing the texts using version theory in book form, we will also discuss the implications it has for reading practices vis-a-vis potential non-linear, radial reading practices in electronic textualities. To what degree is it possible that versioning through the linear, non-radial form of the book might create real paths for non-linear, radial reading practices, particularly in the face of textual multiplicity?
On the morning of October 1, 1695, a group of stonemasons began working on refurbishing the crypt altar in the cathedral of San Pietro in ciel d'oro in Pavia Italy. They began by prying off the marble flooring at the back of the altar. Their work hadn't progressed very far before they perceived an object that looked like a marble box. Someone ran for the Sacristan while the others continued the work of extracting it. They opened the marble box and found a box within a box within a box; in the third box were fragments of wood, numerous bones and bone fragments, glass vials and much black dust. Some of the workers claimed to have seen the name "Augustine" written on the top of the box. No trace of the writing remained at the time of the official examination that was held a couple of days later. That the bones were those of Augustine was not wild speculation; his relics had been moved to Pavia in the early eighth century, but their exact location was no longer known. A complicating factor was that San Pietro was shared by two Augustinian religious orders that were bitter rivals. When workmen hired by one of the orders claimed to have found St. Augustine, the other disputed the claim. The controversy on the authenticity of the bones exploded into print: broadsides, pamphlets, short books, and even treatises of several hundred pages were produced. I will describe the ways in which Catholic religious scholars and authors interacted with their secular readership. I will also describe what the evidence of this controversy can tell us about the marginally literate, and specifically the illiterate workers who found the bones.
I was once embarrassed by using anthologies, much less creating them. I remembered e.e. cummings' poetic joke at the expense of Louis Untermeyer:
mr. u will not be missed
who as an anthologist
sold the many on the few
not excluding mr. u.
But I've come not only to take a certain pride in creating anthologies, but to recognize that the kind of teaching I like to do--comparative, contextual, cultural--is impossible without them. That aside, anthologies, like museums, are an important force in establishing what's important in "our" culture, indeed who constitutes that "our." Those are the subjects about which I will talk.
It's sometimes argued that whatever came out of the Sixties educationally and culturally has long been ploughed under. And, some would say, good riddance. Here I argue that a number of the features of the 1964 Mississippi freedom schools strongly affected teaching and learning in colleges like SUNY/ Old Westbury, and, in turn, the cultural movements that shaped a radically changed literary canon and expressions of it, like the Heath Anthology of American Literature. My discussion draws directly on my own participation in the movements of the Sixties and in subsequent struggles to change the study of literature and culture and in the values they underwrite.
Sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study and supported in part by a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.