Tom Mole

Tom Mole About Tom Mole
Tom Mole is Reader in English Literature and Director of the Centre for the History of the Book at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and an Adjunct Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at McGill University in Montreal. His research interests include: book history and print culture; literature of the Romantic period in Britain, especially Lord Byron; Romantic periodicals and reviews; the cultural history of celebrity; and the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity. Contact him at tom.mole[a]

2 October 2015
I 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 2015
Today 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 2015
Today 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 2015
Tomorrow 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 2015
Today 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 2015
Tomorrow 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 2015
Today 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 2015
This 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 2015
I'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 2015
The 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 2015
I'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 2015
Tomorrow 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 2015
I'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 2015
Next 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 2015
This 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!

Book History for Beginners Dr Tom Mole from Summer School UoE on Vimeo.

30 March 2015
This 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.

CHB Training Workshops from HSS Webteam on Vimeo.

4 January 2015
New 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.

8 December 2014
Along with my colleagues Daniel Cook at Dundee University and Katie Halsey at Stirling University, I've been awarded a grant from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities to run a series of training events for doctoral students in book history. There will be three workshops as well as a series of instructional videos online. The first workshop is on the History of Reading and takes place in Stirling on 11 December with Rosalind Crone (Open University) and Anouk Lang (University of Edinburgh). The second is on Bibliography and Textual Scholarship and takes place in Edinburgh on 30 January with Nicholas Halmi (University of Oxford). The third workshop will be on Print and Digital Cultures and will take place in Dundee in March with Jonathan Wild (University of Edinburgh) and Anthony Mandal (Cardiff University). Together, these workshops are designed to give students a robust foundation in Book History to help train the next generation of scholars in the field.

18 November 2014
Romanticism Criticism and Debates Cover

New Publication. My essay on 'Romantic Long Poems in Victorian Anthologies' has appeared in the volume British Romanticism: Criticism and Debates edited by Mark Canuel and published by Routledge. The book reprints key essays on British Romanticism from the last 25 years alongside newly written essays offering fresh takes on the area. The contributors list is basically a who's-who of Romantic studies and I'm very proud to be included in the volume.

23 October 2014
Broadview Reader Cover

New Book. The Broadview Reader in Book History, which I edited with Michelle Levy, is published today. The reader reprints 33 key essays in the field, grouped conceptually and provided with headnotes, explanatory footnotes, an introduction, a chronology, and a glossary of terms. It focusses on European and American Book History, mostly since the European invention of printing. It's the most up-to-date, user-friendly way to get started on the study of Book History. You can see more on the publisher's website, or buy the book from Amazon in the UK, the USA and Canada, or, as they say, from all good bookstores.

10 October 2014
In a couple of weeks I'm going to the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the Unversity of York to speak at their conference on Anglo-Scottish Relations in the Eighteenth Century. They have a great line-up of speakers. I'll be talking about Byron's relationship with the Scottish periodical press, which was more tangled and conflicted - and more important to Byron's poetic development - than I think most people realise.

8 October 2014
This Friday Prof Bill Bell returns to the Centre for the History of the Book, which he helped to found nearly twenty years ago. He will be giving a talk in our regular Friday lunchtime seminar series. His title is 'The Mahout on the Elephant: John Murray's Paratexts'. If you're in Edinburgh, you can come along to the seminar in the Project Room at 50 George Square at 1pm. Everyone's welcome: more information here.

6 October 2014
While I was in Lancaster a couple of weeks ago, Rebecca Braun interviewed me about the cultural history of literary celebrity. Here's part of the interview:

4 October 2014
Yesterday it was my pleasure to introduce Prof John B. Thompson from Cambridge University, who gave the annual Centre for the History of the Book public lecture. His talk on 'The Transformation of Contemporary Trade Publishing' drew an audience that included academics, publishing students, creative writers and book historians. You can read more about the lecture here.

16 September 2014
I'm heading to Lancaster tomorrow to speak at the Embodying Literary Celebrity in Multiple Media conference organised by the Authors and the World research project.

13 September 2014
We relaunched the Centre for the History of the Book at a reception in the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Research Collections last night. Plenty of people came for wine and canapes and to hear about what the Centre has planned for the coming year. We're recruiting local affiliates who will contribute to our intellectual community. If you're in Edinburgh and you'd like to be involved, you can email for more information. Here's the presentation I gave last night:

10 September 2014
Today I was delighted to welcome six new students to the MSc in Book History and Material Culture that I convene at the Centre for the History of the Book. We have four students joining us from North America, one from the UK and one from Asia. They will take core courses in 'Cultures of the Book' and 'Working with Collections', option courses in a wide variety of subjects, undertake internships and write a dissertation. You can read more about the MSc here.

29 August 2014
We'll be relaunching the Centre for the History of the Book at a reception at 5pm on 12 September in the foyer of the Centre for Research Collections in the University of Edinburgh Library. At the event, I'll introduce the CHB's plans for the coming academic year and we'll be recruiting new local affiliates. The reception is invite-only, but if you haven't received an invitation and you'd like to come, email

CHB Website Screenshot

26 July 2014
The new website for the Centre for the History of the Book is now online. It has a new ULR: It includes details of the Centre, its aims, the people associated with it, and the events it's planning. There are also a number of resources for people interested in Book History, and we'll be adding to the list over the next few months. Finally, there's a video on the 'About' page about the year ahead. Check out the new site here.

15 July 2014
There are still a few spots left for the postgrad conference 'Creativity and Commerce in the Age of Print', which the Centre for the History of the Book is running on 26 July. The keynote speakers are Iain Stevenson and Jason Scott-Warren, and there will be lots of good papers. The event is free, but you need to register here if you want to come.

15 July 2014
I'm happy to say that three great researchers have been awarded postdoctoral fellowships by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh to work with me next year. Dr Brecht de Groote will work on polticial economy in Romantic-era periodicals; Dr Stephanie Dumke will work on Anglo-German relations in the Romantic period; and Dr Helen Stark will work on Romantic cultures of commemoration. They will all be closely associated with the Centre for the History of the Book.

14 July 2014
The Centre for the History of the Book, which I direct, has won a grant of 30,000 pounds from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. The grant will foster international collaborations at the intersection of Book History and Digital Humanities between researchers at Edinburgh and colleagues at Harvard, Stanford and McGill. Plans are already afoot for workshops and student and faculty exchanges next year. More details soon.

8 July 2014
I'm going to Washington DC for the NASSR conference on 'Romantic Organizations' this week. I'm very much looking forward to reconnecting with my North American colleagues, as well as with the people who, like me, are making the trip from the UK. I'll be doing two things at the conference. I'll be taking part in a roundtable discussion of the Interacting with Print multigraph project. And I'll be giving a paper called 'Organizing Byron's Lyrics in Nineteenth-Century Anthologies'.

1 July 2014
This week I'm going to the University of Portsmouth to give a plenary lecture at the conference 'Celebrity Encounters: Transatlantic Fame in Nineteenth-Century Britain and America'. The conference is hosted by the Centre for Studies in Literature and organised by Paraic Finnerty. My lecture is called 'Walter Scott's Transatlantic Celebrity: A Tale of Two Monuments'. In it, I tell the stories of the Scott Monument erected in Edinburgh in the 1840s and its twin erected in Central Park in 1872, and use these two statues to prompt a theoretical reflection on the changing nature of celebrity and fame in the nineteenth century.

25 June 2014
The edition of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine I edited with Nick Mason and others a few years ago has just been released in an electronic version by Pickering and Chatto, along with 200 of their other titles. You can see the full list here.

19 June 2014
The Broadview Reader in Book History, which I've edited with Michelle Levy, has now made its way through the copy-editing stage and gone for typesetting. It's still scheduled for publication in time for Fall semester courses, so please consider adopting it in your class if you're teaching Book History next year!

17 June 2014
Tomorrow I'm flying to Germany to speak at a conference on 'Lord Byron and the Margins of Romanticism' organised by Norbert Lennartz at Vechta University. I'll be speaking about how nineteenth-century literary anthologies handled Byron's long and controversial poem Don Juan. Other speakers include Sir Drummond Bone, Caroline Franklin, Michael O'Neill, Nicholas Halmi, Jane Stabler and Gavin Hopps.

7 June 2014
On Monday the Centre for the History of the Book is hosting a one-day workshop called 'Getting Started in Digital Humanities'. Designed for researchers in the humanities, this interactive workshop will explore how digital methods, processes and tools can add value to research projects, enhance grant applications, and facilitate exciting new collaborative opportunities. Participants will have the chance to bid for seed funding to start their own projects. Speakers include David Cooper on literary mapping, Emma Goodwin on Crowd Mapping the Crusades, Heather Froehlich on text mining Shakespeare, Daniel Allington on the affordances of "digital" research, and Frances Dickey on editing T.S. Eliot for an online edition. See more here.

2 June 2014
Tomorrow I'm heading down to Oxford to speak at a conference on 'Periodisation: Pleasures and Pitfalls' at All Souls College. I'll be talking about how commentators in the nineteenth century often represented the shift between Romantic and Victorian periods as a generation gap, and I'll suggest that in doing so they helped to create our modern understanding of a generation as a historical object or agent.

14 May 2014
Today I'm happy to be introducing my CHB colleague Lisa Otty who is speaking at the Digital Scholarship Day of Ideas being organised by College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. You can see an abstract of her talk here.

4 April 2014
The Centre for the History of the Book at the University of Edinburgh is hosting a one-day conference for postgraduates and early-career researchers on the topic of 'Creativity and Commerce in the Age of Print'. Abstracts are due on 5 May and the conference takes place in Edinburgh on 26 July.
This interdisciplinary conference will explore the sometimes-fraught connections between the 'art' and 'trade' of books from the Western invention of printing to today. Are the interests of authors and publishers always opposed, or can they lead to productive forms of collaboration? Does work undertaken for the marketplace necessarily compromise its moral and cultural standing? How does literature become property, and how has authorship evolved between the starving writer of 'Grub Street' and the modern book festival circuit? Can the requirements of the printing and bookselling industries constitute a form of de-facto censorship, determining the types of work that are published and circulated? Send 200-word abstracts to Natasha Simonova.

18 March 2014
This Saturday I'll be speaking at the 'Waverley at 200' conference at the University of Dundee, celebrating the bicentenary of Walter Scott's famous novel. Other speakers include Alison Lumsden from the University of Aberdeen and Murray Pittock from the University of Glasgow.

17 February 2014
Heading to Cardiff today to see my colleagues Anthony Mandall and Bill Bell. We'll be talking about the Centre for the History of the Book and the possibility of collaboration between the CHB and the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research in Cardiff.

15 February 2014
Yesterday I took part in a workshop on "Scotland's Collections and the Digital Humanities", organised by Lisa Otty. It included people from universities, museums, galleries and libraries all over Scotland presenting their digital projects and strategies. Andrew Prescott gave a very interesting keynote lecture, and you can see his slides here. I talked about the Book History BiblioGraph, which is still not quite ready for beta-testing.

3 February 2014
The University of Edinburgh are offering a new round of Chancellor's Fellowships, and English Literature has been identified as a "strategic priority area". These superb fellowships offer five years of funding and lead to a permanent position in most cases. It would be wonderful to see some great Romanticists or Book Historians apply for these. More details here.

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18 January 2014
This week I taught my first classes in the Department of English Literature at Edinburgh. I'm teaching two third-year honours seminars - 'The Gothic' and 'The Subject of Poetry: Marvell to Coleridge'. I also gave a lecture on Ruskin and Pater this week.

1 December 2013
Ian Duncan has reviewed Romanticism and Blackwood's Magazine, the collection of essays edited by Robert Morrison and Daniel Roberts to which I recently contributed an essay, in Review 19. He singles out the essays by Nick Mason and me as "highlights of the collection". You can see the full review here.

23 November 2013
My public lecture 'Scott in Stone, Byron in Bronze' from a couple of weeks ago, was recorded. You can now listen to it on the Institute of Advanced Studies website. See this page.

18 November 2013
This week I'll be travelling to Montreal for a meeting of the multigraph project of the Interacting with Print group. I'm looking forward to seeing all the collaborators for two days of intensive work on this project.

13 November 2013
This afternoon at 4.30pm I'll be giving a talk in Durham University's English Department. My title is '"Scattered Odes" in "Shattered Books": Romantic Poets in Victorian Anthologies'

8 November 2013
I'll be at the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of York tomorrow for their conference on "Sociability and Print Culture". My paper is called "Interpersonal Print".

23 October 2013
I'm giving a public lecture tomorrow as part of my fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham. It's called "Scott in Stone, Byron in Bronze: Poets in the British Pantheon", and it's at 5.30pm in the Birley Room, Hatfield College, Durham.

14 October 2013
Today I'm doing a seminar on 'Romanticism and Early Photography: Painting Literature with Light' at Durham's Institute of Advanced Study at 1pm.

11 October 2013
I'm appearing at the Durham Book Festival as part of a "Meet the Fellow" event with other fellows from the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University. The event takes place at 10.30am on 13 October in the Town Hall. You can see more details here.


Broadview Reader in Book History

The Broadview Reader in Book History

Romanticism and Celebrity Culture

Romanticism and Celebrity Culture

Byron's Romantic Celebrity

Byron's Romantic Celebrity

Blackwood's Magazine, 1817-1825

Blackwood's Magazine, 1817-1825