Friday 5th July: Visit to ‘Souvenirs of Italy’ exhibition at Audley End


You are warmly invited to join a CMT/Cambridge Bibliographical Society visit to the ‘Souvenirs of Italy’ exhibition at Audley End. 

Our party will meet at Audley End on Friday 5th July at 10, and will proceed to the library to see the exhibition, followed by a visit to the Howard Sitting Room to see the grand tour portrait. The tour, which will end at around 11.30, will be led by the exhibition organisers, Abigail Brundin and Dunstan Roberts, with the curator of collections at Audley End, Peter Moore.

Places are strictly limited; to sign up, please email Liam Sims (

For more information about the exhibition, see



Co-organised by Abigail Brundin and Dunstan Roberts.

From 1st April until 31st October, an exhibition entitled Souvenirs of Italy: an English Family Abroad will be on display in the Library at Audley End. Created in a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and English Heritage, the exhibition focuses on the European travels of former owner of Audley End and later 2nd Lord Braybrooke, Richard Neville.

The exhibition invites visitors to discover how Richard’s experiences abroad left a lasting personal and cultural legacy at Audley End through a showcase of personal possessions, letters, books and manuscripts – many of which have never been on public display before.

Exuviae: Distributing the Self in Images and Objects


A conference convened by Jason Scott-Warren and Caroline van Eck.

CRASSH, Cambridge, 10-11 May 2019.

‘As social persons, we are present, not just in our singular bodies, but in everything in our surroundings which bears witness to our existence, our attributes, and our agency’. This is the contention of the anthropologist Alfred Gell, who in his posthumous study Art and Agency (1998) elaborates the idea that personhood is distributed, extending outwards into the world through a variety of artefacts and technologies. Material things have an excessive and sometimes bizarre power to distribute the self, facilitating the transmission of human and divine agency over vast tracts of space and time. Gell invites us to think of the objects that serve this purpose as exuviae: remnants, relics, cast-offs or spoils, which while they have been separated from their host remain a part of it, or sometimes the whole of it, as a relic manifests a saint. Considered as exuvial, a portrait is not a dead and distant representation; it is part of its sitter, which continues to manifest life and presence once it has been sent out into the world. And many other kinds of object play a similar role.

On the twenty-first birthday of Art and Agency, this conference will explore Gell’s notion of the exuvial in all of its multiplicity and richness. Bringing together experts from a variety of disciplines, it will pursue some of the numerous ways in which the self has been circulated, around the world and across history. Our comparative study will take us from the intimately bodily (hair, teeth, skin), via coverings such as clothing and armour, to material media such as printed books and painted panels. We will also take in more intangible social skins such as fame, gossip and reputation, as well as posthumous avatars such as ghosts, souls and children. Among the questions that we will ask are: what historical forces conspire to give artefacts the power to transmit presence and personhood? How do different kinds of exuviae work together, and how do objects compete with one another for exuvial status? What happens when a whole class of objects is barred from exerting any exuvial force? Our presupposition is that many cultural variables come together to shape the story of human distributions. By exploring these variables, we will achieve a fuller understanding of our place in the world of things.

For further information see:

Paper-Stuff: Materiality, Technology and Invention


University of Cambridge, Faculty of English

10-11 September 2018

Under the auspices of the Centre for Material Texts and the Writing Britain Conference Series

The introduction of paper to the West was a major technological innovation that transformed the ways in which texts of all kinds were transmitted. Having proved itself over many centuries as the intellectual fabric of Asian and Middle Eastern societies, the medium continued to demonstrate an extraordinary capacity for adaptation and diversification when it arrived in Europe. The stuff of playing cards, votive offerings and amulets, packaging and toilet tissue, wall-coverings and quilt-linings, paper was also crucial to the development of quotidian, democratized literacies and to the unfurling of national bureaucracies and capitalist economies. Light (in a single sheet) yet heavy (in a massive folio), durable yet fragile and throwaway, paper’s ability to combine contrary qualities and its willingness to enter into alliance with other substances and technologies helped it seep into every sphere of daily life. Paper’s smooth surface masked fundamental changes in substance—in particular the move from the rag-paper of the late medieval and early modern periods to the wood-pulp paper of modernity. Its protean surface facilitated deep continuities and extraordinary ruptures in European cultural history.

A spate of recent publications has demonstrated the urgency of getting to grips with paper, at a turning-point in our relations with it. The aim of Paper-stuff is to meet this urgency. It will bring together experts in the field, theorists of material culture and representatives of a variety of disciplines with a stake in the subject, so as to understand paper’s empire in the West. Paper-stuff will also take stock of rapidly evolving technologies available for the analysis of paper.

Plenary speakers:
Professor Pádraig Ó Macháin (University College Cork)
Linda Toigo (paper artist)

For the draft programme, click here.

To register, click here.

For further information please contact one of the organisers at the e-mail below.
Dr Orietta Da Rold (
Dr Jason Scott-Warren (

Sponsor: The British Academy

CMT work-in-progress seminar

Join us on Monday 11 June, 1-2 pm in the Board Room, Faculty of English, for a seminar led by Michelle Taylor (a PhD student working on modernist coteries, especially in relation to T. S. Eliot and Nancy Cunard, currently visiting on the Cambridge-Harvard exchange scheme). She will give a short talk entitled:
“Coterie Culture, Modernist Materiality: Past Models and New Problems”
which will be followed by discussion. Feel free to bring your sandwiches!

Cambridge Bibliophiles meetings, Lent 2018


Wednesday, 31st January, at 8.45 p.m.
James Carley: In the Footsteps of the King: John Leland’s Visit to York in 1541
Friends of Peterhouse Seminar Room, Peterhouse

Wednesday, 7th February, at 8.45 p.m.
Dennis Duncan: Sex and Violence and Pseudonyms: Editions du Scorpion and the Post-War Avant-Garde
Friends of Peterhouse Seminar Room, Peterhouse

Thursday, 15th February, 6 p.m. — 8 p.m.
Drinks reception as guests of G. David
An opportunity to meet exhibitors before the Cambridge Book Fair, David’s Bookshop

Wednesday, 28th February, at 8.45 p.m.
Daniel Margócsy, A Census of Vesalius
Friends of Peterhouse Seminar Room, Peterhouse

Wednesday, 7th  March, at 3 p.m.
Visit to the Library of Pembroke College
Assemble at the Porter’s Lodge of Pembroke

Thursday, 15th March, at 8.45 p.m.
Informal meeting, hosted by Scott Mandelbrote, with Basie Gitlin as guest of honour
4 St Peter’s Terrace, Peterhouse

Birkbeck Lectures 2018


Julia M. H. Smith is giving the Birkbeck lectures at Trinity this year, dates and titles as below. Julia is currently planning on holding an open seminar on the day after the final lecture, particularly for interested graduate and early career researchers, to pick up on the topics arising from her talks, details of which will follow closer to the time.

Julia Smith (Chichele Professor of Medieval History, University of Oxford) on ‘Christianity in Fragments: the Formation of the Cult of Relics, c. 300-800.’

5 February: ‘Refashioning the Holy Land’
12 February: ‘Material Blessings’
19 February: ‘Protecting Body and Soul’
26 February: ‘Martyrs, Bones and Bodies’

All lectures take place in the Winstanley Lecture Theatre at 5.00 pm



John Taylor (1578-1653) was one of the most inventive writers of his age. Styling himself ‘The King’s Majesty’s Water-Poet’, he was at once a Thames boatman, a dazzlingly prolific author, and a literary celebrity. He was a pioneer in numerous literary forms, including travel writing, nonsense verse, and the ‘it-narrative’, and was one of the first writers to explore the possibilities of subscription publishing. Taylor was a satirist, a polemicist and a purveyor of printed news who invented the role of the foreign correspondent in his reports back from European war-zones. His works were also crucial to the formation of the British canon and to an emergent sense of national identity.

This conference will be the first to focus exclusively on Taylor’s vast and multifarious oeuvre. Bringing together a group of leading scholars, it will reconsider the significance of the Water-Poet to our understanding of seventeenth-century literature and culture, and his legacy in our own day.

The conference, sponsored by the Cambridge Centre for Material Texts and the University of Southampton, will run from 11.30 on 14 September to 2.15 pm on 15 September, in the Senior Parlour, Gonville and Caius College.

14 September

11.30-12 Registration

12-12.15 Welcome

12.15–1.30: Session One

Bernard Capp, ‘John Taylor goes to War: Civil War writings 1642–1648’

Abi Shinn, ‘“Pace, Amble, Trot, Hand-gallop, Wild-gallop, Fals-gallop”: Motion and Conversion in the Rebellious Roundhead’

1.30–2.15: lunch

2.15–3.30: Session Two

Ros King, ‘John Taylor, playfulness, and nationhood’

Ariel Hessayon, ‘“A Swarme of Sectaries”: John Taylor and the enemies of his religion’

3:30: tea and coffee

4.00–5.45: Session Three

Anthony Ossa-Richardson, ‘Sartor Resartus: Or, A Learned Taylor?’

Adam Smyth, ‘“For a Friers mouth read a Pudding”: John Taylor and the uses of error’

Jason Scott-Warren, ‘Exuvial Taylor’

15 September

9.15–11.00: Session Four

Kirsty Rolfe, ‘The coast of Bohemia: John Taylor’s imagined geographies?’

Jemima Matthews, ‘Taylor’s Thames: Performing local geography and other “useful matters”’

Andrew McRae, ‘Travelling Taylor: Developing an Authorial Identity’

11.00–11.30: tea and coffee

11.30–1.15: Session Five

Will May, ‘The Whimwham: travelling on Taylor’s watery vessels’

Alice Hunt, ‘“And so my journey and my book is done”: John Taylor, England’s Republic and his Final Works, 1649–1653’

Johann Gregory, ‘John Taylor and Engaging Audiences: Findings from a Pilot Project’

1.15–2.15: lunch

The cost of attendance, including lunches, teas and coffees, is £60 (waged) and £30 (unwaged).

Accommodation can be arranged in Gonville and Caius College at a cost of £65.25+VAT (single ensuite) or £81+VAT (twin/double ensuite).

On the night of 14 September, there will be a conference dinner (price not included in booking fee) at a local Indian restaurant.

For a conference flyer, click here. For a booking form in Word format, click here.

For further information, please contact the organisers, Anthony Ossa-Richardson ( and Jason Scott-Warren (



curated by Sophie Seita

Currently on display in the Cambridge English Faculty exhibition space is a selection of some of the most fascinating, rare, important, and often forgotten avant-garde magazines from the early twentieth century all the way up to the present day. ‘A Century of Avant-Garde Little Magazines’ celebrates the crucial and multifarious contributions magazines have made not only to the development of an individual writer’s or artist’s oeuvre, but to numerous national and international avant-garde groupings, and to cultural, political, and aesthetic tendencies more broadly. The exhibition includes print magazines associated with Dada, Modernism, the British Poetry Revival, the mimeograph revolution, feminist and contemporary communities, and a digital display of materials published on the peripheries of Conceptual Art and Conceptual Poetry, Language Writing, Fluxus, and many other avant-gardes. Moving away from a focus on the individual author or the single work, the exhibition emphasises the material richness and collaborative spirit of experimental publications and publishing communities, drawing attention to their innovations in design, typography, and aesthetic form, and to the collective work of editors, practitioners, readers, and other, often invisible, participants. The items on display are on loan from the Cambridge University Library, English Faculty Library, and private collections, while the digital materials are photographs taken in a number of archives, from the Beinecke Library (Yale), Fales (NYU), Princeton, New York Public Library, to MoMA, among others.

An introductory talk by Dr Sophie Seita, Junior Research Fellow at Queens’ College, will take place on Monday, 5 June, 3-4.30 in the Board Room of the Faculty of English.

CMT Research Coffee Morning


An opportunity to discuss your current research with other CMT members. UL tea-room, 11am, Monday 13 March.