Posted on December 1st, 2011 at 2:42 pm by Edmund King

Landmarks in Book History: The Future of the Discipline

Organised by The Open University’s Book History Research Group, and the Institute of English Studies, University of London.

Venue: Room ST273 Stuart House, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HU. Tel: 0207 8628675

Wednesday 11 January 2012 (17.30-19.00)

  • Karin Littau (Essex): “Subsequent Steps towards a Media History of the Book”

Dr Karin Littau teaches in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. Her research interests include book and film history, adaptation, reception and translation studies. She is the author of Theories of Reading: Books, Bodies and Bibliomania (2006) and The Routledge Concise History of Literature and Film (forthcoming).

Wednesday 18 January 2012 (17.30-19.00)

  • David Finkelstein (Dundee): “Assessing Don McKenzie’s Legacy in the Digital Age: A Case Study”

Prof David Finkelstein is Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of Dundee, with research interests in media history, print culture and book history studies. His authored and edited publications include The House of Blackwood: Author-Publisher Relations in the Victorian Era (2002), An Introduction to Book History (2005), The Book History Reader (2001, rev. 2nd ed. 2006) and the Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland: vol. 4: Professionalism and Diversity, 1880-2000 (2007). He is also editor of Print Culture and the Blackwood Tradition, 1805–1930 (2006), which was awarded the 2007 Robert Colby Scholarly Book Prize for significantly advancing the understanding of the nineteenth-century periodical press.

Wednesday 1 February 2012 (17.30-19.00)

  • Claire Squires (Stirling): “Bestsellers and Beyond”

Professor Claire Squires is Director of the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication at the University of Stirling. Her publications include Marketing Literature: The Making of Contemporary Writing in Britain, and she is co-Volume Editor for the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Book in Britain Volume 7: The Twentieth Century and Beyond.

Wednesday 8 February 2012 (17.30-19.00)

  • Susan Pickford (Paris): “Pascale Casanova’s World Republic of Letters”

Dr. Susan Pickford is senior lecturer in translation at the University of Paris 13. Her research interests are in intercultural transfer and the social and cultural history of translation from the eighteenth century to the present. She is also a literary translator and SHARP’s regional liaison officer for France.

Wednesday 15 February 2012 (17.30-19.00)

  • Kate Longworth (Oxford): “How to do things with books: Wolfgang Iser’s The Implied Reader

Kate Longworth is completing a doctorate at Oxford University; her subject is the idea of the poetic drama in twentieth-century England. She is in the early stages of research into the history of the National Book Council/League.

Wednesday 22 February 2012 (17.30-19.00)

  • Stephen Colclough (Bangor): “What is the history of the history of reading?: Reinvestigating Robert Darnton’s ‘First Steps’”

Stephen Colclough is a lecturer in nineteenth-century literature and the history of the book in the School of English at Bangor University, Wales. His publications include Consuming Texts: Readers and Reading Communities, 1695-1870 (Palgrave, 2007) and (co-edited with Alexis Weedon) The History of the Book in the West: 1800-1914 (Ashgate, 2010). He is a contributor to The History of Reading, Vol.3: Methods, Strategies, Tactics (Palgrave, 2011), The Brontës in Context (CUP, 2012), and OUP’s forthcoming History of Oxford University Press edited by Simon Eliot. He is currently working on a monograph on the representation of reading spaces in the early nineteenth century.

Wednesday 29 February 2012 (17.30-19.00)

  • Bob Owens (The Open University): “Jerome McGann’s ‘Social Textual Criticism’ and the Editing of Literary Texts”

Bob Owens is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at The Open University. Among his publications are scholarly editions of works by John Bunyan and Daniel Defoe, and, most recently, of The Gospels: Authorized King James Version (Oxford World’s Classics, 2010).

Organiser: Dr Shafquat Towheed, Project Director, The Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945 (RED).

University of Reading Conference: Authors, Publishers and Readers: Selling and distributing literary cultures, 1880-1940.

Posted on November 15th, 2011 at 4:33 pm by Edmund King

With Mary Hammond, Nickianne Moody, and Shafquat Towheed

This conference marks the AHRC project at the University of Reading, ‘The Impact of Distribution and Reading Patterns on the History of the Novel in Britain, 1880-1940’. Topics that will be covered include:

  • commercial circulating libraries and the rise of the public library movement
  • bookshops and new retail outlets
  • reading, genre and the stratification of the fiction market
  • audience and literary censorship
  • using publishers’ and book trade archives

Saturday 24th March, 2012, 10am-5pm, Conference Room, Special Collections, Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), Redlands Road.

For further information and the Call For Papers contact:

Patrick Parrinder, Andrew Nash, or Nicola Wilson.

+44 (0)118 378 8360.

The call for papers will close on 16 December 2011.

Towards a US-RED

Posted on July 29th, 2011 at 3:40 pm by Edmund King

RED personnel have recently returned from the 2011 SHARP conference in Washington DC. The conference was hugely enjoyable, and the RED panel session—featuring presentations from all of the current Global RED partners, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands—was very well attended. One of the most commonly asked questions we received, however, was why there isn’t yet a US-RED. As George H. Williams tweeted from the audience during the presentation, “Are there any American projects working on something like a Reading Experience Database? … If not, why not?”

It’s a good question. Obviously, the short answer is that no institution has yet provided the money, staffing, and technical infrastructure necessary to establish a Reading Experience Database in the United States. But everyone we talked to seemed to agree that this a necessary step for the history of the book in the US. What, then, might a US-RED look like?

The histories of reading in the geographical areas that now make up the US are almost unimaginably vast in number and variety. Tracking them systematically might well seem impossible: this kind of project, as Matthew Bradley put it in his review of RED in the Journal of Victorian Culture last year, “has in it something analogous to the idea of trying to draw a 1:1 map of the world.” So a US-RED might have to approach the task in pieces—particular themes, time periods, regions, or even authors would form the boundaries of the project, rather than the historical and geographical borders of the nation itself.

One possible way forward would be to examine the reading communities studied by Ronald J. and Mary Saracino Zboray in Everyday Ideas: Socioliterary Experience among Antebellum New Englanders (2006). The Zborays’ labours have revealed the richness of the evidence that these readers have left behind, and their footnotes and bibliography blaze trails to the archives that a US-RED would certainly want to revisit. An eighteenth- or nineteenth-century-focussed “New England RED” would have a well-defined geographical and temporal scope, and it would be able to encompass other areas of interest as well—Emily Dickinson’s reading, for instance, or the circulation of texts between immigrant and Native American communities.

Clearly, a whole world of possibility is open to the future developers of a US-RED. Developments over the next few years should reveal some of the contours and dimensions of that world.

Australian RED Workshop

Posted on April 15th, 2011 at 3:47 pm by Edmund King

Announcement: AUS RED/UK RED Joint Workshop, Thursday 28 April 2011

A day workshop jointly organised by the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) and the Australian Reading Experience Database (AusRED) projects

Final Programme

Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University, South Bank Boardroom (SO1_3.46).

The first half of the day’s activities will focus on introducing users to the new AusRED and UK RED databases, while the second half will focus on current research being undertaken by both project teams on reading during The First World War.

9.30-9.45am    Arrival, welcome and Introduction from Patrick Buckridge (Griffith)

9.45-11.15am    Panel 1: Introducing AusRED and UK RED. Chair: Paul Eggert (ADFA)

  • 1.1. Demonstration of new AusRED database and interface (30mins)

    Patrick Buckridge (Griffith)
  • 1.2. Demonstration of re-launched UK RED, including new teaching and research tools (30mins)

    Rosalind Crone and Shafquat Towheed (OU)
  • 1.3. Question and Answer session (30mins)

11.15-11.30am    Tea break

11.30-1.00pm    Panel 2: Spreading the RED: Contributing, Using, Networking. Chair: Patrick Buckridge (GU)

  • 2.1. The New Zealand RED: A progress report and demonstration (30 mins)

    Sydney Shep (Victoria University, Wellington).
  • 2.2. A tutorial/training session: entering data, the online contribution form, advanced searches and constructing research questions (60 mins)

    Rosalind Crone and Shafquat Towheed (OU).

1.00-1.45pm    Lunch

1.45-3.00pm    Panel 3: Investigating the First World War: locating and using archival and digital resources for AusRED and UK RED. Chair: Sydney Shep (VUW)

  • 3.1. Presentation on locating and using archival sources for Australian civilian reading in World War I AusRED (30mins)

    Jim Cleary
  • 3.2. Presentation on locating and using archival sources for British reading in World War I (30mins)

    Edmund King
  • 3.3. Question and answer session (15 mins)

3.00-3.15pm    Tea break

3.15-4.45pm    Panel 4: The Evidence of Reading in the First World War. Chair: Shafquat Towheed (OU)

  • 4.1. Sources and methodologies for military reading in the First World War.

    Amanda Laugesen (ANU) (30 mins)
  • 4.2 ‘A Captive Audience: Uncovering the Reading Experiences of Australian Prisoners-of-War, 1914-18.’

    Edmund King (OU) (30 mins)
  • 4.3. Question and answer session (15 mins)

4.45-5.00pm    Summing up of day’s activities and future directions. Patrick Buckridge (Griffith)

5.00pm    Drinks and nibbles: All workshop participants are invited to attend the opening reception for the SHARP conference, which is being held at the State Library of Queensland, 5.00-7.30.

For information, please contact Professor Patrick Buckridge, School of Humanities, Griffith University

Reading and the First World War: Seminar Series

Posted on January 18th, 2011 at 5:34 pm by Edmund King


The Open University’s Book History and Bibliography Research Group is delighted to announce a new series of seminars, to be held at the Institute of English Studies, University of London, in February and March 2011. The events are free and all are welcome to attend.

Venue: Room ST273 Stuart House, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HU. Tel: 0207 8628675

Saturday 12 February 2011 (14.00-17.00)

  • Edmund King (The Open University): ‘A Captive Audience? The Reading Lives of Australian Prisoners of War, 1914-18’
  • Jonathan Black (Kingston University): ‘Reading Behind The Lines: Letters between British official war artists and writers of the First World War.’

Saturday 26 February 2011 (14.00-17.00)

  • Jonathan Arnold (IES, University of London): ‘“Please send me Tess of the Dr Rbyvilles (Harding)”: Reading preferences of American Soldiers and Sailors during World War One.’
  • Jane Potter (Oxford Brookes University): ‘Khaki and Kisses: Reading the Romance Novel in the Great War.’

Saturday 12 March 2011 (14.00-17.00)

  • Alisa Miller (Christ Church, University of Oxford): ‘Towards a popular canon: Poetry, war and authorial identity in Europe, 1914-1929’
  • Sara Mori (IES, University of London): ‘Reading during the First World War: the experience of Gabinetto G.P. Vieusseux of Florence.’

Saturday 26 March 2011 (14.00-17.00)

  • Santanu Das (Queen Mary, University of London): ‘Reading India, Writing War: South Asian sepoys, empire and the First World War.’
  • Max Saunders (King’s College London): ‘Impressions of War: Ford Madox Ford, Reading, and Parade’s End.’

Organisers: Dr Edmund King (The Open University), Research Associate, and Dr Shafquat Towheed (The Open University), Project Supervisor/Co-investigator, ‘The Reading Experience Database, 1450-1945’ (RED).

Seminar: Criminal Book History

Posted on January 17th, 2011 at 5:29 pm by Edmund King

The International Centre for the History of Crime, Policing and Justice (ICHPCJ) announces a new event:

‘Criminal Book History’

18 February 2011

Meeting Rooms 1, 2 & 3, Wilson A, Walton Hall, The Open University

This themed seminar explores the links between histories of crime and the history of print in the nineteenth century. Crime and its punishment has long been a topic which has attracted readers and filled the coffers of publishers. However, from the turn of the nineteenth century, developments in printing technology, the emergence of cheap publications and rising literacy levels meant that interactions between crime and print culture flourished. The four papers at this seminar will explore the ways in which crime shaped forms of writing, publishing, print distribution and reading.

To register your attendance, please use the attached form, or email Yvonne Bartley.


10:30-11:00: Arrival, Tea/Coffee

11:00-12:00: Kirsty Reid (University of Bristol): ‘Writing the Voyage: Convict ship newspapers and the journey to Australia’

12:00-13:00: Lunch

13:00-14:00: Alice Smalley (Open University): ‘Illustrating Crime: Visual representations of crime in the late nineteenth century newspaper’

14:00-15:00: Natalie Pryor (University of Southampton): ‘Defining Obscenity: The problems of prosecuting literature in the mid nineteenth century’

15:00-15:15: Tea/ Coffee

15:15-15:45: Rosalind Crone (Open University): ‘”The prison and myself are becoming quite a show”: Elizabeth Fry’s prison project revisited’

15:45-16:00: Wrap Up