& abstracts


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Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana

2001-2002 Schedule & Abstracts

September 25, 2001
Robert Darnton (Department of History, Princeton University)
Lilly Library Lounge

In the debates about the future of scholarly publishing, the issue is how, not if, electronic books will supplement conventional monographs. Given the crisis in the budgets of libraries and of university presses, publishing on the Web is certain to become increasingly important. Scholars themselves should therefore take the initiative, set standards, and explore the new possibilities opened up by the Internet. As an example of those possibilities, I shall discuss some of my own attempts to adapt traditional research to electronic publishing. One is the "Gutenberg-e" program sponsored by the American Historical Association. It provides a way of confronting the so-called "death of the monograph" through a program for converting prize dissertations into high quality "e-books." Another is a study of publishing and the book trade in eighteenth-century France and Switzerland, which I am currently preparing. It will be an "e-book" shaped like a pyramid. At its topmost level, it will contain a text that resembles an ordinary monograph. But when readers come upon a subject that especially interests them, they can pursue it by clicking down through several levels of mini-monographs and documentation. In this way, they will be able to read it "vertically," so to speak and to create their own paths through the digitized material. Thanks to technological improvements in "made-to-order" publishing, they also will be able to print out and bind their own custom-made paperback. I shall illustrate the possibilities by discussing various techniques of book smuggling between Switzerland and France during the 1770s and 1780s.

October 8, 2001
H. Wayne Storey (French & Italian)
Lilly Library Lounge

While "little books" were sometimes preserved in larger miscellanies, rare is the actual evidence of the preparation and circulation of shorter works often contained in a gathering or two of two to five bifolia each. Dante's little book, the Vita Nuova, not only tells the story of a poet struggling to comprehend and express the mystical tenets of love, it also supplies its reader with a set of instructions on how to transcribe the little book. From Dante's own cautious directions to the early copies of the Vita Nuova we learn not only about the relationship between the medieval libello's material production and its audience, but also about the shifting editorial attitudes in the 14th century toward transcriptional forms and the textual containers worthy of literary icons.

October 22, 2001
Patrick Leary (History, Victorian Studies)
Lilly Library Lounge

Begun by a motley band of down-at-heel literary men in 1841, Punch had by the 1860s became the most successful and influential English-language comic magazine of all time, and a Victorian institution. Presided over by the familiar and genial comic figure of Mr. Punch, it was especially prized for its woodcut illustrations, which ranged from small "cuts" depicting humorous everyday situations to what the magazine's staff called "the Large Cut" -- the full-page cartoon that commented upon, and helped to define, the most prominent political events and controversies of the day. The Large Cut has a special place in the history of British print and visual culture as the successor to and destroyer of the standalone satirical print as practiced by the likes of Gillray and the Cruikshanks, as an enduring influence on the form of the political cartoon as we know it today, and as the source of imagery that has represented to successive generations many of the central concerns of middle-class Victorian society. Yet for all its obvious ancestors and influence, the Large Cut in turn had roots in a milieu that has left few traces behind: the oral culture of Victorian London, most immediately present in the lively conversation of the artists and writers of the Punch staff at their weekly dinner meetings. Piecing together elements from a revealing set of unpublished manuscript sources allows us to reconstruct that exclusive masculine milieu in considerable detail, exposing the complex inner workings of this famous periodical and making clear some of the ways in which oral, visual, and textual culture intersected in the creation of 19th-century political iconography.

November 5, 2001
Molly Faries (School of Fine Arts)
Lilly Library Lounge

Last year marked the beginning of a new research program funded by the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). In its broadest sense, this project, which I co-direct, is intended to combine two complementary research methods, technical examination of paintings and archival investigation, in an effort to describe and quantify workshop organization and procedure, consumer demand, trends in collecting, and market opportunities for early 16th-century painters in Antwerp. The talk will present work in progress and focus on the digital infrared images that elucidate the stages of execution of an double-winged altarpiece that is now in the National Art Museum in Warsaw, and the questions about workshop methods that ensue.

November 19, 2001
Ivan Kreilkamp (Department of English)
Lilly Library Lounge

This talk looks at Charles Dickens's representation (in David Copperfield, 1850) of a young man's apprenticeship in shorthand reporting in the context of a number of shorthand and phonography manuals from the 1830s and 40s: these include G. Bradley's A Concise and Practical System of Stenography (1843), J.H. Clive's The Linear System of Short Hand (1830), V.D. de Stains's Phonography, or The Writing of Sounds (1842), and the manual Dickens himself had actually used as a young reporter, Thomas Gurney's Brachygraphy, or An Easy and Compendious System of Shorthand (1825). If, in the era of Johnson's Dictionary, standard English was thought to check the arbitrary profusion of speech, in the early nineteenth century shorthand manuals offered a new narrative in which shorthand offered to reform the randomness, lack of planning, and inaccuracy of English. By the early Victorian period, voice was being represented as the ideal to which writing aspired. Indeed, speech had come to signify what was immediately and genuinely human in a culture in which language was subject to mechanical reproduction. The grandiose claims made for shorthand in the early Victorian era indicate a new way of thinking about writing and its relationship to human utterance. Dickens's fictional representation of a young man's struggle to learn shorthand in David Copperfield, I argue, at once parodies and challenges the claims made for shorthand by the various manuals and handbooks that proliferated in early Victorian England.

January 28, 2002
Anthony Grafton (Department of History, Princeton University)

Historians of Renaissance thought have often made a sharp distinction between the magical tradition and the new humanistic scholarship that flourished side by side in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This talk will examine some of the ways in which medieval and Renaissance magi collected, interpreted, and used their books--and by doing so identify a number of practices that the two traditions shared.

ANTHONY GRAFTON is Henry Putnam University Professor and Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University. He is the author of over a dozen books on Renaissance Humanism and Renaissance culture generally, including DEFENDERS OF THE TEXT: THE TRADITIONS OF SCHOLARSHIP IN AN AGE OF SCIENCE, 1450-1800 (1991), NEW WORLD, ANCIENT TEXTS: THE POWER OF TRADITION AND THE SHOCK OF DISCOVERY (1992--co-authored with April Shelford and Nancy Siraisi), THE FOOTNOTE: A CURIOUS HISTORY (1997), and most recently, CARDANO'S COSMOS: THE WORLDS AND WORKS OF A RENAISSANCE ASTROLOGER (1999) and BRING OUT YOUR DEAD: THE PAST AS REVELATION (2001).

February 11, 2002
Deborah Brandt (Department of English, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
Lilly Library Lounge

Throughout the history of mass literacy, people have been taught to read and write under the auspices of various campaigns and through the help or imposition of various agents. Indeed, we can see the literacy development of individuals across time in terms of competitions among sponsors of literacy with whom they have contact. In the twentieth century, as literacy grew more integral to economic and political competition, sponsors of literacy grew more numerous and their competitions more fierce. And that in turn has brought fast and unrelenting changes to standards and expectations for literacy and volatility in the worth and reach of people's literacy skills. In this presentation, I shall explore the concept of literacy sponsorship for its use in understanding changes in literacy standards as well as changes in access and reward for literacy. I shall draw on findings from more than 80 life history accounts of ordinary Americans born between 1895 and 1985 who provided detailed recollections of how they learned to read and write across their lifetimes. Then I shall invite the seminar participants to analyze some of these interviews as a way to reflect on social and educational issues accompanying recent transformations in literacy sponsorship.

DEBORAH BRANDT took her PhD in English at Indiana University in 1983 and since then has taught at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she is now full Professor of English. She is author of LITERACY AS INVOLVEMENT (1990), which won the 1993 David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research presented by the National Council of Teachers of English, and more recently of LITERACY IN AMERICAN LIVES (Cambridge U. Press, 2001).

March 4, 2001
Randall McLeod (Department of English, University of Toronto)

In this presentation, I shall distribute three different printed versions of this poem to the audience, the first two, published in 1654 and 1669, and Grierson's edited version, from his monumental 1912 edition). Each third of the audience will then be LOOKING at a different one of these three, while I read aloud a fourth text, from Helen Gardner's 1965 edition. With pencil in hand, audience members can record the discrepancies between what they SEE and what they HEAR, and in this way directly and vividly experience what is at stake in textual variation.

The session will be given over to a discussion of the variants that arouse audience interest. (These variants impinge obviously on several rhetorics, among them that of sexual seduction, that of poetic composition, and that of scholarly editing, and our discussion will easily range among them all.) We will deal with questions as we go; and so there will not be a formal division between lecture and question-period.

March 5, 2002
Randall McLeod (Department of English, University of Toronto)

This session will present a number of provocative vignettes of problems (I call them "resources") in Shakespeare's text drawn from my past and current research. The aim will be rapid-fire illustration of "transformission": that is, how texts are transformed as they are transmitted. Any transmission leads to problems, but editorial transmission is the primary target.

My topics range from Shakespeare's alphabet, his handwriting, the types used to set his text (with consideration of kerns and ligatures), symbolic space on the printed page, naming of plays and characters, multiple-text plays and problems of referring to them. (What did Keats mean, for example, when he titled a sonnet "On sitting down to read King Lear once again"?). The point is to open as many areas of textual instability as possible in the time available. As always, my appeal will be to evidence, and for the purposes of this group discussion that means photocopies of early quartos and folios. Questions from the audience will be entertained as we go along.

RANDALL McLEOD has long been one of the foremost North American scholars arguing for and demonstrating (by means of his own invention, the McLeod Portable Collator) that no two copies of any Early Modern printed text are ever exactly the same and that any text of the period is thus necessarily unstable. He presented the Rosenbach Lectures in Bibliography at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, is a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is presently on a Mellon Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., where he is preparing an edition of Donne's Elegy 19 ("To His Mistress Going to Bed") based on the 68 surviving 17th-century manuscript versions and early printed editions of the poem. His volume of collected essays, MATERIAL SHAKESPEARE, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.

March 25, 2002
Michael Satlow (Religious Studies, IU Bloomington)

Who is the author of a redacted text? Redacted texts raise complex theoretical and practical issues. At what point does an editor who splices together pre-existent sources and supplies only a sparse ligature to hold these diverse sources together create an entirely new text? How is the scholar to approach such a text, and to extract meaning from it?

In order to explore these issues, we will read a text from the Babylonian Talmud on the pros and cons of marriage. Arguably the most important sacred text within Judaism, the Babylonian Talmud was redacted around the sixth century, C.E., from many sources from both the Land of Israel and Babylonia (modern day Iraq). The text that we will examine is an artful compilation and intertwining of sources that maintain almost contradictory attitudes toward the value and pleasure of marriage.

MICHAEL SATLOW is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Jewish Studies Program at Indiana, having been here since 1999. He has written extensively on attitudes towards sex and marriage in rabbinic Judaism, most notably in two books: TASTING THE DISH: RABBINIC RHETORICS OF SEXUALITY (Scholars Press, 1995) and JEWISH MARRIAGE IN ANTIQUITY (Princeton University Press, 2001).

April 15 2002
Kai-wing Chow (History and East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Illinois)

Commercial publishing in late imperial China witnessed unprecedented growth in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The boom of book production had profound impact on various aspects of cultural production. Expansion of the reading public was particularly notable in the genres of vernacular fiction (xiaoshuo) and drama (chuanqi). Increase in the production of these genres contributed to a rapid expansion of paratextual space in prefaces, editorial principles, reading guidelines, and comments. In the paratext of fiction and drama, writers and critics publicized a poetics of vernacular literature. Its exponents redefined great literature in terms of new linguistic, stylistic, and thematic criteria: multiple social languages, vernacularism, fictionality, love, and, heteroglossia. In many ways literary critics in the this period moved away from conventional themes revolving around the political center and from the moral orthodoxy based on the Cheng-Zhu learning, the official rendition of the Classical canon. The state with its ideology lost its centrality in this poetics of the vernacular canon.

KAI-WING CHOW took his PhD in History from the University of California at Davis in 1988 and is presently Associate Professor of History and East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois. He has published extensively on printing and intellectual change in Late Ming China and most notably in two books, THE RISE OF CONFUCIAN RITUALISM IN LATE IMPERIAL CHINA: ETHICS, CLASSICS, AND LINEAGE DISCOURSE (Stanford, 1996) and PUBLISHING, CULTURE, AND POWER IN LATE IMPERIAL CHINA: A NARRATIVE OF SHISHANG CULTURE (forthcoming, again, Stanford University Press).