CMT exhibition: Jane Austen’s Sanditon


Jane Austen’s Sanditon – 200 Years: the history of an unfinished work

The Cambridge English Faculty is currently displaying material tracing the public life and textual forms of Sanditon, Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, which she composed in the year of her death, 1817.

The manuscript of Sanditon is held in King’s College, Cambridge, where Jane Austen’s great-nephew was Provost. This exhibition traces the public life and developing textual forms of Sanditon, from the first public reference to the work in James Edward Austen’s-Leigh’s 1871 Memoir of his aunt, through to the first published edition of Austen’s fragment (1925), the first facsimile edition (1975) and other continued, illustrated and translated editions, up to digital text. The items on display in this exhibition are on loan from Cambridge University Library and from the Gilson collection at King’s College, Cambridge.

The exhibition, to be found in the first-floor atrium of the Faculty, coincides with a conference about Sanditon to be held at Trinity College, Cambridge, 29-31 March, 2017: details, including registration information are here:

CMT coffee and cake: Thursday 16 March, 10.30, in the exhibition space

Embodying Media: From Print to the Digital

Calls for Papers, Events;


Date: Saturday, 27th May 2017

Venue: Faculty of English, University of Cambridge

Within the study of media theory and history, competing narratives have identified, on the one hand, the absorption of the human voice or body within the text, and, on the other, the development of technology and material texts as extensions of that voice or body. To date these narratives have been largely located from the twentieth century onward. This one-day conference aims to readdress these narratives within a longer historical and wider interdisciplinary perspective. From eighteenth century concepts of the bodily consumption of texts by readers, and words being impressed upon their brains, to more recent imaginings of the multi-sensorial spaces of digital texts and their distribution in the new media landscape, the relationship between the media of writing and the human body has been fraught with affective potentials. This conference aims to examine this relationship between the materiality of texts and the materiality of bodies by bringing together researchers from different disciplines and time periods across the study of textuality.

Moreover, this conference seeks to make use of the potentials of such media forms for academic study. Speakers will be asked to send a digital copy of material related to their presentation ahead of the conference. These materials will be uploaded to the conference website, allowing speakers to explore the implications of their research during their presentations and enabling participants to view the material before and after the conference itself.

Possible topic areas could include:

• The physiology of reading

• The multi-sensory experience of texts: visuals, sonics, and tactility

• Literacy and the materiality of the alphabet

• The (dis)embodied nature of writing

• Technology and media and/as bodily forms of writing

• Text processing from print to the digital

• The Internet and (post)human identity

• Pens, typewriters, keyboards, touchscreens, and other media of writing

• The place of the body in media theory and history

Keynote speaker: Dr Seb Franklin (Lecturer in Contemporary Literature, King’s College London)

Please submit a title and abstract of a maximum of 300 words, along with a short biographical note of up to 50 words, to by 20th February 2017.

Peter Stallybrass talk


PETER STALLYBRASS, ‘Shakespeare’s Desk’

18 November 2016, 18:15 – 19:15

Room S1, Alison Richard Building, West Rd, Cambridge

CMT Exhibition: Reading J.H. Prynne


A display of the work of J.H. Prynne is available to view on the first floor of the English Faculty, with additional materials in the Faculty Library.

Reading J.H. Prynne celebrates the poet’s role from the beginnings of the British Poetry Revival, as well as his influential part in the pedagogy of this university and the study of English abroad. The display includes poems, prose, correspondence, supervision handouts, a manuscript (facsimile), annotations, as well as responses to the work by longstanding friends and fellow poets. Of especial interest is a new poem in response to Sub Songs (London: Barque Press, 2010) written by John James, entitled On Reading J.H. Prynne’s Sub Songs (Ashburton: QoD Press, 2016), with artwork by Bruce McLean.

Other materials that are not widely available include a copy of the manuscript of Kazoo Dreamboats (Cambridge: Critical Documents, 2011), as well as the poet’s annotations to Al-Dente (Cambridge: Face Press, 2014). Both are available to be examined in the Library for the course of the display.

Reading J.H. Prynne will be on display until November.

COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts


Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 30 July – 30 December 2016

The COLOUR exhibition and its catalogue mark the bicentenary of the Fitzwilliam’s foundation by displaying 150 of the Museum’s illuminated manuscripts. They showcase the collection – the largest and finest museum collection of illuminated manuscripts in existence. They also celebrate the advanced research supported and inspired by the collection.

Two cross-disciplinary projects form the research platform for the COLOUR exhibition and catalogue: Cambridge Illuminations, which is publishing the 4000 illuminated manuscripts and incunabula preserved at the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges (, and MINIARE, which employs non-invasive analytical methods to identify materials and techniques in illuminated manuscripts, and integrates scholarship in the arts, humanities, physical sciences and digital technology (

The research and themes presented by the COLOUR exhibition will be explored in a broader, international context during the conference organised by the Fitzwilliam Museum in association with the Departments of Chemistry and History of Art, Manuscripts in the Making: Art and Science, 8-10 December 2016 (

Stories in the making: American fiction in magazines since 1960


A new CMT exhibition in the English Faculty first floor atrium, 9 West Rd

Anxious musings about ‘the fate of reading in the electronic age’ are now commonplace, with most attention focused on perceived threats to the tangible pleasures of the book. Gutenberg elegies are, however, seldom sung for print magazines – perhaps because they were always intended to be ephemeral.

This miniature exhibition, associated with our up-coming symposium Books in the Making <>, focuses on American fiction, and celebrates the mass-market and avant-garde magazines in which some of the best known twentieth-century writers first found a place to publish.  Sometimes magazines published extracts from novels, but more often than not they relied on and promoted short stories – complete fictions that were said to appeal to modern readers because (as one late nineteenth-century editor put it) they could ‘be taken down with a gulp.’

For more than half a century, American magazines – big and small –  loved short fiction, which in all sorts of contexts (including Playboy!) provided a powerful enticement for readers and therefore for advertisers.

Today, however, things are different – advertisers and many readers have departed for TV and the internet – and even little magazines struggle to maintain a print presence. While, as Stephen King pointed out in 2007, the high-paying New Yorker remains the ‘holy grail of the young fiction writer’, much original short fiction today is published in web-based outlets. Nonetheless, new media often look back to earlier moments; this year the Evergreen Review, a once venerable print journal, will be relaunched online <>.

Kasia Boddy and David Winters

CMT inaugural exhibition


Compilation, Composition, and Commonplace Books

Now in situ in the first-floor of the English Faculty, 9 West Rd.

An exhibition compiled and curated by MPhil students from Ruth Abbott’s ‘Writers’ Notebooks: Literature, Scholarship, and the Organization of Knowledge, 1800-1900’ course.

Commonplace books became popular during the seventeenth century, acting as repositories for aphoristic, literary and philosophical quotations, as well as more clerical forms of note-taking. By the nineteenth century, commonplacing came to be recognised as a valuable aid to literary composition, particularly among autodidact authors and poets like George Eliot and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Our exhibit focuses on the use of commonplace books by ordinary middle-class families in the nineteenth century, how they chronicled and contributed to an everyday engagement with literature, theology, poetry and domestic activity. From the Bible to Byron, musings on God to sketches of the family dogs, the commonplace book offered a powerful collective storehouse for the miscellanies and medleys of material that amassed at the center of communal family life in the nineteenth century. Through this exhibition we hope to celebrate this pursuit, and we encourage all exhibition-goers to contribute to our very own commonplace book.

Please come along to eat cake and celebrate the arrival of our beautiful new display cases on the first-floor landing on Monday, 26 January, from 10.15-11.15 am.

Digital Editing Now


7-9 January, 2016

Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge

For programme and booking, see:

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in scholarly culture and funding strategies towards digital formats for edition projects. This is driven by the potential for new forms of production, presentation and access that the digital promises. And it involves a reassessment of the conventions that have determined editorial practice in the age of print. This conference gathers together leading figures in the field to exchange ideas about the state of digital editing, its future potential, challenges and limits. How should we place ourselves relative to fundamental issues of authority/openness, durability/fluidity? Can we establish a set of ideal types for digital editorial method, or would its optimal strengths rather lie in more hybrid forms, including a productive mode of cohabitation with the print formats that it appears to want to supersede?

The academic book of the future: evolution or revolution?


11 November 2015, 9.30-5
Darwin Room, Pitt Building, Trumpington St, Cambridge

This event will bring together people from all stages in the production cycle of the academic book, from authors and publishers to booksellers, librarians and readers, to consider the past, present and future of scholarly communication. How did the academic book come to take the form in which we know it today? What should we cherish and what should we loathe in the academic book? And, as we start living our intellectual lives online, what does the future hold for scholarship in this form?

mapsSpeakers will include: Richard Fisher (former Managing Director of Academic Publishing at Cambridge University Press), Rupert Gatti (Faculty of Economics/Open Book Publishers), Anne Jarvis (University Librarian, Cambridge University Library), Danny Kingsley (University of Cambridge, Office of Scholarly Communication), Peter Mandler (Faculty of History, President of the Royal Historical Society), Samantha Rayner (Senior Lecturer in Publishing, UCL), Alison Wood (Mellon/Newton Trust Postdoctoral Fellow, CRASSH).

Sponsored by the AHRC-funded ‘Academic Book of the Future‘ project, Cambridge University Press and the Cambridge Centre for Material Texts, this one-day colloquium will form part of a week of events and exhibitions taking place across the country.

There is no charge for registration, but places are limited. To sign up, please use Eventbrite at

CMT garden party


The CMT will be hosting an end-of-year garden party on Tuesday 7th July, 4-6 pm, in the Fellows’ Garden, St John’s College, or in the Parsons Room if wet. Strawberries will swim in the cream. Please come!