Thursday, March 14, 2013

Working it Out: A Day of Numbers in Early Modern Writing

Saturday 18th May 2013
Birkbeck, University of London
Keynes Library, 43-46 Gordon Square, London 

Registration Open

Early modern books are full of numbers, representing both practicality and mystery. This multidisciplinary one-day conference explores numbers in British early modern literature and textual culture. How were numbers and numerical techniques used in drama, dance, and poetry? What were the practical issues arising from printing numerical texts? How were numbers represented on the page in mathematical and accounting texts – and elsewhere? How were the index and the cross-reference created and used? To what extent would an early modern audience recognize mathematical references in literary texts and performance? Who would buy an arithmetic book and how might they use it?

The conference will bring together researchers from the fields of literature, history of mathematics and of accounting, economic and cultural history, performance studies, and more to think in new ways about early modern numbers.

Speakers include:

-     Stephen Clucas, Birkbeck.
-     Natasha Glaisyer, York.
-     Richard Macve and Basil Yamey, London School of Economics.
-     Carla Mazzio, University at Buffalo, SUNY.
-     Emma Smith, Hertford College, Oxford.
-     Adam Smyth, Birkbeck.

Conference fee £10, including lunch. Register at:

Free for postgraduates, if registered in advance. Please contact us at if you are a postgraduate student and would like to attend.

General questions can be directed to the organisers, Rebecca Tomlin and Katherine Hunt, at; also check out the blog at

The conference organisers are grateful for the generous support provided by the Society for Renaissance Studies, the Royal Historical Society, the London Renaissance Seminar, and ICAEW’s Charitable Trusts.


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