People of Print: printers, stationers and booksellers 1500-1830
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£95 or £50 student concessions available
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This interdisciplinary conference re-evaluates the roles of booktrades personnel, and explores directions for future research. It draws together book history, printing history, reading history, and literary studies. This conference is being co-organised by BCU’s Centre for Printing History and Cultures in partnership with the Universities of Sheffield Hallam, Sussex and York St John. The conference takes place at Sheffield Hallam University.
Whether we view them as tastemakers, ideological brokers, or entrepreneurial opportunists, the personnel of the book trade undeniably shaped the book cultures of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. While capital, technology, and markets are all powerful factors in the trade’s development, its people are its most significant agents. Current research across periods is demonstrating the creative agency of book trade personnel, and the extent of their cultural and political engagement.
As recent monographs and essay collections demonstrate, book trade history is now firmly established as a field of study: James Raven, The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade, 1450-1850 (2007) and Publishing Business in Eighteenth-Century England (2017); Lisa Maruca, The Work of Print: Authorship and the English Text Trades, 1660-1760 (2007); Marta Straznicky, ed., Shakespeare’s Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography (2013); Kathleen Tonry, Agency and Intention in English Print, 1476-1526 (2016); Kirk Melnikoff, Elizabethan Publishing and the Makings of Literary Culture (2018). Much remains to be done, however, to understand and theorise the cultural and social activities, subjectivities, and identities of book trade personnel.