Habits of Reading in Early Modern England

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Source Call No: STC 13813.6: Aabc

Directed by Steven Zwicker, Professor of English at Washington University

June 16 through July 25, 1997

This NEH Summer Institute for College and University Faculty made reading in all its facets the subject of intensive study and exploration. Working with the rich Folger collections and surveying the now substantial body of scholarship on the subject, the institute considered the full range of intellectual and affective transactions between readers and their books. Topics included: the ways that the printing and distribution of books shaped texts, the relations between the practices of reading and the formation of collections and libraries, the inflection of politics by prim, and the aesthetic and intellectual consequences of censorship, regulation, clientage, and patronage.

Throughout the course of the institute, participating college instructors expanded their knowledge of the book as a physical object with a session in the Folger's conservation laboratory; developed their facility in reading the hands of annotations with a paleography practicum; examined search strategies for evidence of readers' responses to texts with an introduction to online resources; and attended supplement field trips to the National Gallery of Art with an introduction to the Gallery's archive of prints and library of slides. This institute made available strategies for college faculty to understand and, more importantly, to teach how texts spoke to the passions of early modern politics and spirituality. To that pedagogical end, participants collectively assembled a packet of illustrative materials to be reproduced for incorporation into their own coursework with students.

Materials and Products

While the website is no longer supported, it has been archived: Institute Website: Habits of Reading in Early Modern England

A PDF of the website's pages with the participants' interpretive essays.

A PDF of the original promotional flyer.

The bibliography can be found here: Bibliography for Habits of Reading in Early Modern England

Resulting publication: Anderson, Jennifer and Elizabeth Sauer, ed. Books and Readers in Early Modern England: Material Studies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001. Z1003.5.G7 B69 2002

Source Call No: R415: An itinerary contayning a voyage, made through Italy, in the yeare 1646, and 1647


(see also Habits of Reading in Early Modern England participants)

Derek Alwes, Ohio State University/Newark

Jennifer Andersen, California State University at San Bernardino

Sabrina Alcorn Baron, George Washington University

Anna Battigelli, State University of New York at Plattsburgh

Lana Cable, State University of New York at Albany

Lynne Dickson, Chatham College in Pittsburgh

Craig Dionne, Eastern Michigan University

Judith A. Dorn, St.Cloud State University

David R. Evans, Cornell College

Maura A. Henry, Harvard University

Randall Ingram, Davidson College

Kirstie McClure, Johns Hopkins University

Robert S. Miola, Departments of Classics and English

Andrea R. Nagy, Sweet Briar College

Lee Piepho, Sweet Briar College

Elizabeth Sauer, Brock University in Ontario, Canada.

Source Call No:C5525: Joh. Amos Comenii Orbis sensualium pictus …


(See also Habits of Reading in Early Modern England faculty)

Peter W.M. Blayney, University of Toronto

Margaret J.M. Ezell, Texas A&M University

Margaret W. Ferguson, University of California, Davis

Anthony Grafton, Princeton University

Richard Helgerson, University of California, Santa Barbara

Michael Mendle, University of Alabama

Kevin Sharpe, University of Southampton

William H. Sherman, University of Maryland at College Park

Evelyn Tribble, Temple University

Laetitia Yeandle, Folger Shakespeare Library

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

Hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library. For more information about current summer seminars, please visit the National Endowment for the Humanities website.