(Full CFP attached — please distribute to any postgraduates and early-career researchers who may be interested.)
‘What an insane thing it is to make literature one’s only means of support!…To make a trade of an art! I am rightly served for attempting such a brutal folly.’
– George Gissing, New Grub Street (1891)
Hosted by the Centre for the History of the Book at the University of Edinburgh, this interdisciplinary conference will explore the sometimes-fraught connections between the ‘art’ and ‘trade’ of books from the Western invention of printing to today. Are the interests of authors and publishers always opposed, or can they lead to productive forms of collaboration? Does work undertaken for the marketplace necessarily compromise its moral and cultural standing? How does literature become property, and how has authorship evolved between the starving writer of ‘Grub Street’ and the modern book festival circuit? Can the requirements of the printing and bookselling industries constitute a form of de-facto censorship, determining the types of work that are published and circulated?
We are currently seeking papers from postgraduate and early career researchers interested in questions such as these, with potential topics including (but not limited to):
- Authorship and other creative professions
- The printing and bookselling industries
- Author-publishers relationships
- Dissemination networks
- Subscription and patronage
- Book advertising, illustration
- Serial publication
- ‘Tie-ins’, merchandise, and material culture
- Libraries and book collecting
- Commerce and censorship
- Originality, copyright, and intellectual property
- Book piracy and its national boundaries
- Creative work and gender
- The impact of new technologies for production and dissemination
- The ‘rise’ or ‘death’ of print.
Proposals in all relevant subject areas and historical periods post-1450 are welcome. Please send a 200-word abstract to N.Simonova@ed.ac.uk by 5 May 2014. Limited travel bursaries may be available; indicate if you would require one to attend. The conference will take place in Edinburgh on 26 July 2014, with registration opening in June.