20 April 2016I'm delighted to announce that I have been awarded the inaugural Linda H. Peterson fellowship by the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. The fellowship, worth $17,500, will allow me a period of focussed research time in the Fall of 2017. I'll be working on a new project called 'Periodicals and the Policing of Literary Culture', which examines how periodical writers constructed a position of authority from which to pronounce judgment on the culture around them. Drawing on the work of J.L. Austen and other thinkers who have examined performative utterances, I explore the periodical writers' self-authorising style. The fellowship is named for the late Linda H. Peterson (1948-2015), Niel Gray, Jr. Professor of English at Yale University. Linda Peterson was a pioneering scholar of periodical studies who served as RSVP vice president from 2009 to 2013. More information on the fellowship is available here
10 March 2016Next week I'm delighted to be giving a lecture at the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia, where I'll also be attending a board meeting of the NINES project. My lecture is called 'Scattered Odes in Shattered Books: Romantic Poems in Victorian Anthologies', and is based on a survey of over 200 Victorian anthologies to discover which poems, or sections of longer poems, by Byron, Shelley and Hemans they reprinted. The results are sometimes quite surprising. My talk is at noon on 17 March in 118 Alderman Library. More details here.
12 February 2016Next week I'm going to the Lake District to begin a new collaboration with at Dove Cottage, Wordsworth's former home in Grasmere. I'll be curating an exhibition that will appear in their museum throughout the autumn. It's going to be called 'Wordsworth, Photography, and the Invention of the Lake District' and it emerges from research that I've done for my new book on photographically-illustrated Victorian editions of Wordsworth. I'll also be going there to give some talks about this research in October. More details soon.
21 January 2016Tomorrow I'm travelling to London to record a programme for Radio Four with Michael Rosen. We're going to be talking about Byron's Hebrew Melodies at the London Library. I want to tell the story of how Byron's publisher, John Murray, effectively appropriated these poems from Byron's Jewish collaborator Isaac Nathan.
12 January 2016Today I led a briefing session for students on the MSc in Book History and Material Culture who are undertaking work placements this term. This is a new option that we've introduced to the degree this year. We'll be placing students at the National Library of Scotland, National Museum, Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh Central Library and elsewhere.
6 January 2016Off to Austin, Texas, for the MLA Convention. Looking forward to catching up with many of my North American friends and colleagues.
11 December 2015
Today I'm finishing off the term with the students on the MSc in Book History and Material Culture by screening the film Helvetica. If you haven't seen it already, it's the best documentary about a typeface you'll see this year!
14 November 2015Yesterday I was at the British Library to celebrate Academic Book Week, and to help launch a collection of essays called The Academic Book of the Future. The collection opens with an essay by me, called 'The Academic Book as Socially-Embedded Media Artefact'. It's being published by Palgrave in their Pivot series, which means you can get it in both electronic and paper form. You can see more details here.
11 November 2015Tomorrow I'm giving a lecture at the University of Vienna called 'Byron's Unlikely Celebrity in Victorian Sermons', as part of a series on Cultures of Celebrity. I'll be talking in particular about C.H. Spurgeon's many references to Byron in his sermons and writings and drawing some conclusions about what this might tell us about the history of celebrity. More details here.
30 October 2015Tonight it's my pleasure to introduce Dr Christina Lupton from Warwick University, who will be speaking in the Department of English Literature seminar series. Her title is 'Reading the Materiality of the Future'. More details here.
30 October 2015A blog post about my lecture on Shelley has now appeared on the Centre for the History of the Book website.
16 October 2015I'm giving a talk at the University of Edinburgh Department of English Literature seminar this evening at 5pm in the Project Room on the first floor of 50 George Square. My title is 'Converting Shelley' and I'll be talking about the specifically religious reception tradition in Victorian Britain that sought to minimise Shelley's atheism or explain it away altogether and represent him as an inherent Christian poet. More details here.
2 October 2015I have won a recognition award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for the most effective academic community-building initiative for my work with the Centre for the History of the Book. The award was presented at a ceremony today by Dorothy Miell, Vice Principal and Head of College, and Jane Norman, Vice Principal for People and Culture.
2 October 2015Today is the first in this term's series of bi-weekly lunchtime seminars at the Centre for the History of the Book. The first in the series will be given by Dr Kylie Murray of Balliol College, Oxford. She will talk about the reception of Boethius in early-modern Scotland.
1 October 2015Today was the Centre for the History of the Book annual public lecture. This year's lecture was given by Dr John Scally, Scotland's National Librarian and Chief Executive of the National Library of Scotland. Around 60 people came from around the University and the city of Edinburgh.
17 September 2015Tomorrow I'm going to Oxford to take part in a conference called After-image: Life Writing and Celebrity with Sarah Churchwell and Andrew O'Hagan. I've been invited to take part in a roundtable discussion of historical approached to celebrity at the end of the event.
16 September 2015Today I met the nine students who are taking the MSc in Book History and Material Culture at the Centre for the History of the Book this year. We have a great set up courses lined up for them, as well as a number of initiatives that add value to the degree, including field trips, visiting speakers, work placements and a mini-conference.
19 July 2015Tomorrow I'll be speaking at a colloquium on Literary Commerce organised by Adam Budd at the University of Edinburgh. I'll be talking about 'Celebrity and Anonymity in the Long Eighteenth Century'. The other speakers are Barbara Benedict, Viccy Coltman, Alison Duncan, John Feather, Matthew Grenby, Catherine Jones, Pamela Perkins, James Raven, Isabel Rivers, Richard Sher and Mark Towsey.
15 July 2015Today I'm in Cardiff for the British Association of Romantic Studies conference on 'Romantic Imprints', where I'll be speaking on a panel called 'Publishing Romanticism' that I've organised with David Duff. David will be talking about the publisher's prospectus in the Romantic period, John Strachan will be talking about the publisher Sherwood, Neely and Jones, and I'll be talking about 'retro-illustrated' editions of Romantic poetry from the Victorian period.
8 July 2015This week the CHB is hosting the second in the pair of twinned symposia that I'm organising in collaboration with Deidre Lynch on 'Books and/as New Media'. We met at Harvard University in May and now we're reconvening in Edinburgh to continue the conversation. You can see more about both events here. Speakers at the Edinburgh symposium include Anthony Grafton, Deidre Lynch, Leah Price, Matthew Rubery and Kathryn Sutherland (and me).
1 July 2015I'm delighted to take up a new role today as a member of the Advisory Committee for PMLA (Publications of the Modern Language Association of America). Each issue of PMLA is sent directly to about 26,000 college and university teachers of English and foreign languages who belong to the association and to about 1,800 libraries throughout the world. The Advisory Committee is responsible for reporting on articles submitted for publication, and members serve a three-year term.
24 June 2015The Centre for the History of the Book has produced a series of videos designed to introduce key skills for Book Historians. With the help of our experts, you can learn how to handle rare books, how to tell a quarto from an octavo, how paper is made and where watermarks come from, how to read and write a collation, how to use a scholarly edition and more. These videos offer a useful resource for mastering research techniques that can be difficult to learn from a book. The videos are presented by scholars at Scottish Universities, and they make use of the extraordinary collections of the University of Edinburgh Library and the National Library of Scotland.
12 May 2015I'm at Harvard University for the first in the pair of twinned symposia that I'm organising in collaboration with Deidre Lynch on 'Books and/as New Media'. You can see more information about the Harvard event here and about both events here. We have a great line-up of speakers for the first event, including Mark Algee-Hewitt, Luisa Cale, Lindsey Eckert, Andrew Piper, Jonathan Sachs and Andrew Stauffer.
28 April 2015Tomorrow I'm giving a lecture called 'Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine and the Language of Personal Attack' for the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society. It takes place at 6pm on Wednesday 29 April in the Project Room on the first floor of 50 George Square. I'll be talking about the discourse of 'personalities' in Blackwood's, reconstructing the conventions that governed the use of personal attacks in periodical writing around 1817 when Blackwood's was founded and showing how Blackwood's sought to transform them. Everyone is welcome.
6 April 2015I'm proud to be organising a pair of twinned symposia at Harvard University and the University of Edinburgh called 'Books and/as New Media'. These symposia will explore the history of how books repond to, incorporate and produce media change. Re-embedding the book in the changing media ecology, these symposia explore the long history of new media - from a time when the printed codex was the new medium, through the book’s encounters with the new media of photography, lithography and sound recording, to the digital revolution. In doing so they offer a more nuanced and historicized account of the book’s place in the shifting mediascape. Thirteen great scholars are speaking, including Anthony Grafton, Deidre Lynch, Leah Price and Andrew Piper. The first event takes place at Harvard on 14-15 May. The second takes place in Edinburgh on 9-10 July. You can see the speakers, titles, abstracts and registration details here.
2 April 2015Next week I'm going to the United States, where I'll be giving three lectures over the next few weeks. On 9 April I'll be at Bucknell University, in Pennsylvania, on 21 April I'll be at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and on 23 April I'll be at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The lectures will present material from my new book, tentatively titled What the Victorians Made of Romanticism.
1 April 2015This June, the Centre for the History of the Book will be running its first Summer School, called 'Book History for Beginners'. This course, taught in four distinct and interrelated modules on 'print culture', 'material texts', 'publishing history' and 'the future of the book', introduces students to the major debates in book history. It foregrounds the production, promotion, circulation and reception of the material book as a relay of culture and a form of knowledge. It's aimed at advanced undergraduates. If you take all four modules, you can transfer the credit back to your home university. Alternatively, you can take any one, two or three modules not for credit. Registration is open now, so sign up here!
30 March 2015This week I'm going to the University of Dundee to help lead the third in a series of three doctoral training workshops on Book History which the Centre for the History of the Book is running in collaboration with the University of Stirling and the University of Dundee. In December we held a workshop on the history of reading in Stirling, in January we held on in Edinburgh on bibliography and textual scholarship, and in April one in Dundee on manuscript, print and digital culture. We also organised a field trip to Innerpeffray Library, Scotland's oldest lending library. You can see more details here.
4 January 2015New publication. Meetings with Books has just been published by McGill University Library. It includes a historical survey of McGill's special collections by Richard Virr (McGill University); a tribute to humanist scholar and book collector and long-time McGill professor Raymond Klibansky; short essays by Leslie Howsam (University of Windsor), Fiona A. Black (Dalhousie University), Julie E. Cumming (McGill University), Stefan Sinclair (McGill University), Ann Marie Holland (McGill University), Anna Dysert (McGill University), Christopher Lyons (McGill University), Jillian Tomm (McGill University), and Gregory Bouchard (McGill University); and a keynote address by writer, anthologist, and essayist Alberto Manguel, with a short introduction by me. The essays are complemented by a selection of more than fifty illustrated vignettes, highlighting the range and types of special collections at McGill University Library and Archives. You can buy the book from McGill University Library or see the whole thing as a pdf here.
The Broadview Reader in Book History
Romanticism and Celebrity Culture
Byron's Romantic Celebrity
Blackwood's Magazine, 1817-1825
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