University of Minnesota
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What is/was a book? Some answers from the Romantic period. December 10, 2015

What is/was a book?
Some answers from the Romantic period

Thursday, December 10, 2015, at 4:00pm
Crosby Seminar Room, 2nd Floor East Side, 240 Northrop

Free and open to the public

lynch books crop

Download: audio, small video, or original.

Nearly two decades ago William Paulson declared that “electronically stored and retrieved text, in comparison with its printed predecessor, is almost infinitely malleable and labile”; his contrast between the digital text’s openness to “modification and recontextualization” and “the stasis of cold print” has subsequently become a commonplace. I want to complicate this familiar before/after contrast between a print and a digital age. This paper surveys the multitude of ways in which bookish people in the early nineteenth century traded on the fissiparousness of the codex form. Considering published sources and unpublished (manuscript albums and extra-illustrated books), it recovers an earlier culture’s surprising readiness to conceptualize texts and images, poems and pictures as detachable and re-attachable slips and scraps.

Deidre Shauna Lynch was educated at the University of British Columbia in Canada and at Stanford University, where she took her Ph.D. Formerly Chancellor Jackman Professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, she joined the faculty of Harvard University in 2014. She has published widely on the literature and culture of late- eighteenth-century and early-nineteenth-century Britain, on the history of women’s writing, on the theory and history of the novel, and on the history of reading. Her first book The Economy of Character: Novels, Market Culture and the Business of Inner Meaning won the Modern Language Association Prize for a First Book in 1999. Other books include (as editor or co-editor) Cultural Institutions of the Novel (Duke University Press), Janeites: Austen’s Disciples and Devotees (Princeton University Press), the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the Norton Critical Edition of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and the Romantic Period volume of The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Her edition of Austen’s Mansfield Park will be published by Harvard University Press in 2016. In early 2015 the University of Chicago Press published her Loving Literature: A Cultural History, a study that engages the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century prehistory of English studies in order to give a new account of the state of the discipline and of the state of our literary affections. Lynch has won multiple teaching awards, including the Northeast Association of Graduate Schools Graduate Faculty Teaching Award.

This event is cosponsored by the Department of English. To request a disability-related accommodation, please contact the IAS (ias@umn.edu 612-626-5054) at least two weeks prior to the event.

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