Text and Trade @ Queen Mary: CFP


Text and Trade: Book History Perspectives on Eighteenth Century Literature

Saturday 15 September 2012 at Queen Mary, University of London

Keynote speakers: Prof. James McLaverty (English Department, Keele University) and Dr. John Hinks (Chair of the Printing Historical Society and Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Urban History, University of Leiecester)

This interdisciplinary conference will explore relations between book production, distribution and content to re-examine our notions of textual culture in the eighteenth century. Taking intersections in current scholarship between Book History and Literary Studies as its starting point, it will explore the ways in which we can expand our knowledge of eighteenth-century literary production by revisiting the circumstances of material life in the period.

In the past, book historians tended to separate bibliography and textual criticism from the literary analysis of content, and today the focus on ‘print culture’ remains primarily one of viewing social processes among authors, publishers, wholesalers/ booksellers and readers as primary in book production. ‘Text and Trade’ seeks to broaden this approach by considering the literary and intellectual consequences of these processes. It will do so by examining bibliography and circuits of communication, investigating the link between economic and intellectual trends, and tracing connections between transformations in media and changing perceptions of selfhood.

The book as object is fraught with issues of critical feedback, textual instability, editorial intervention and branding, all of which challenge our notions of author-ity. By focusing on cultural exchange, the conference will pursue questions about the significance and necessity of viewing material culture and print in conjunction. It will address theoretical and historical understandings of the complex ideological, technological and social processes that bear on the creation of print.

‘Text and Trade’ invites papers that seek to bridge the gap between book history and literature via visual culture, education, geography, philosophy and trade. Topics that papers might address include (but are by no means limited to): – the material history of specific texts – literary circulations – information / scholarly networks – the influence of booksellers and publishers on textual creation – trade and craft in literary production – innovation and tradition – sites of textual production, real and imagined – the varieties of printed forms (including manuals, pamphlets, miscellanies, periodicals and chapbooks) and their significance – the marketplace and book production – models of patronage – the textual re-creation of authors by editors, publishers and printers

Proposals for 20-minute papers are due via email by 15 June, 2012 and should consist of a 250-word abstract. Proposals for panels are also welcome, which should consist of a working title for the panel and an abstract for each of the contributors.

To submit proposals or to make informal inquiries please contact the conference organizers, Dr. Jenn Chenkin and Dr. Tessa Whitehouse: textandtrade15sept@gmail.com

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