Thursday, May 17, 2007

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture, 1550-1700

A Symposium at the University of Plymouth, April 2008

This symposium explores the significance of the physicality of manuscript and printed texts in the early modern period. By comprehensively focussing on the material aspects of texts as a new and valuable way of reading and decoding meaning, it aims to provide a thorough reassessment of the varied cultures of manuscript and print in the period. Avowedly interdisciplinary, a central purpose of the symposium is to foster vigorous dialogues between print and manuscript studies, critical bibliography and history of the book, palaeography and diplomatics, and social and cultural history. It is intended that papers will examine a broad range of texts, both canonical and non-traditional, print and manuscript, and will treat the following key areas:

• The material, practices and processes of textual composition and production; manuscripts, drafting and editions
• The technologies and tools of writing
• Interpreting the uses of paper, quills, ink, desks, presses
• The significance of space and the design of texts; the layout of the manuscript and printed page; script and white space; type and typography; paratextual apparatus
• The space of textual production; the social context and location of writing
• The social signs, codes and cues inscribed within texts
• The distribution and dissemination of texts
• Environments of reading and reception
• Marginalia and practices of reading
• The material text as object or thing

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