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Workshop in the History of Material Texts

Andrew Pettegree & Arthur der Weduwen (University of St Andrews), "Materializing the Immaterial: Recovering the Lost Books of Early Modern Europe"

Layers of handwritten scraps over a print book

Monday, November 29, 2021, 5:15pm, via Zoom*

*For Zoom information, please please contact Aylin Malcolm.

Our speakers write:

The importance of lost books, editions where no copy has yet been identified, has long been recognised by book historians. Bibliographies concerned with a single printer, the works of a single author or a particular place of publication regularly record contemporary references to works that cannot now be located.  But historians of the book have been more hesitant in applying this approach to the analysis of the early modern print world as a whole. In a St Andrews conference, subsequently published as Lost Books (2016), we explored a diverse range of methods for identifying lost books, ranging from mathematical modelling to the analysis of manuscript booklists, with a special concentration on genres of print, particularly susceptible to loss, including, but not exclusively, broadsheets, forms other forms of printed ephemera. In this presentation we review our own contribution to the recovery of lost books, and the essential role these previously unrecognised items played in sustaining the publishing industry, particularly outside the major centres of production, between 1450 and 1700. 

About our speakers:

Andrew Pettegree, FBA is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. He is the author of over a dozen books in the fields of Reformation history and the history of communication, including Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion, The Book in the Renaissance, The Invention of News, Brand Luther: 1517, Print and the Making of the Reformation, and, most recently, The Library: A Fragile History.

Arthur der Weduwen is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of St Andrews and Deputy Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. He has edited a volume on book catalogues in early modern Europe (Brill, 2021), and is the author of five books, including Dutch and Flemish Newspapers of the Seventeenth Century (2 vols., Brill, 2017), The Bookshop of the World. Making and Trading Books in the Dutch Golden Age (with Andrew Pettegree, Yale UP, 2019), and most recently, The Library: A Fragile History (also with Andrew Pettegree, Profile / Basic Books, 2021).

All are welcome. If you would like to receive details on future talks, please sign up for our listserv using this link or visit the Workshop website.

The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is supported by the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of English and hosted by the Penn Libraries. The co-directors of the seminar are Professor Zachary Lesser (English), Jerry Singerman (Penn Press, Emeritus), and John Pollack (Kislak Center, Penn Libraries).

Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.

For more information, please contact Aylin Malcolm.