Transactions of the Book (conference)

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For more past programming from the Folger Institute, please see the article Folger Institute scholarly programs archive.

This was a fall conference held from November 2 to November 3, 2001, organized by Anthony Grafton and Kathleen Lynch, and cosponsored by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

Featured speakers included Roger Chartier, Lisa Jardine, Harold Love, and Kevin Sharpe. Additional papers and/or comments were provided by Ann Blair, Peter W.M. Blayney, Rebecca Bushnell, Elizabeth Eisenstein, Mary E. Fissell, Juliet Fleming, Jonathan Goldberg, Heidi Brayman Hackel, Adrian Johns, David Scott Kastan, Jeffrey Masten, Paula McDowell, Ann Moss, Annabel Patterson, Joad Raymond, William H. Sherman, Peter Stallybrass, and Steven Zwicker.

This weekend conference investigated the histories of reading and writing and the ways in which texts were transmitted and knowledge circulated through—while also serving to define—communities in the early modern period. Scholars in many academic fields are incorporating into their research and teaching an attention to the physical properties of the book as well as to the dynamic-and historically situated-mediations a text may provide between readers and writers. Rarely are these proliferating histories jointly examined by an interdisciplinary gathering, as this conference proposed to do. By gathering literary critics, social and political historians, bibliographers, editors, and others, and by extending the scope of investigation beyond the widely recognized impact of the printing press, the conference was explicitly designed to disrupt easy divisions, such as those between individual disciplinary or cultural histories, or between scribal and print modes of production and reception.