Conference: Material Readings in Early Modern Culture, 1550-1700

by Jessica C. Murphy

Material Readings in Early Modern Culture, 1550-1700
A Symposium at the University of Plymouth, 11-12 April 2008
This two-day symposium held at the University of Plymouth explores the significance of the materiality of manuscript and printed texts in the early modern period. By comprehensively focussing on the material aspects of texts (both in terms of their physicality and the materiality of social practices) as a new and valuable way of reading and decoding meaning, it aims to provide a thorough reassessment of the intrinsic
natures of and developing relationships between cultures of manuscript and print from the late sixteenth century through to 1600. Avowedly interdisciplinary, a central purpose of the conference 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
Key Speakers include
Professor Maureen Bell (University of Birmingham)
Professor Cedric Brown (University of Reading)
Dr Christopher Burlinson (Emmanuel College, Cambridge)
Professor Victoria Burke (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Dr James Daybell (University of Plymouth)
Dr Jonathan Gibson (Royal Holloway)
Dr Peter Hinds (University of Plymouth)
Professor Mark Knights (Warwick University)
Professor Arthur F. Marotti (Wayne State University, USA)
Professor Steven N. Zwicker (Washington University, St. Louis)
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