Thursday, May 22, 2008

Call For Papers
Writing Cultures: Gender, Class, and Authorship in Early Modern England
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Texas A&M University

The Early Modern Studies Working Group at Texas A&M University is now accepting paper proposals for its fall symposium, “Writing Cultures: Gender, Class, and Authorship in Early Modern England,” which will be held Saturday, October 25th, 2008, in College Station, TX. Though the symposium’s title hints at a more focused approach to the concepts of “gender, class, and authorship,” papers may address any aspect of the symposium’s theme of “Writing Cultures.” Papers may explore writing culture(s) based in any facet of early modern English literature, theater, history, politics, performance, visual art, sexuality, philosophy, religion, or economics. Some of the broad goals for this event are to: further investigate the intersection of gender, class, and writing practices; reflect on the history of these topics within Early Modern humanities scholarship; and consider their impact on current critical trends. Thus possible topics could include:

Confessional narratives
Journals and periodicals
Manuscript culture
Accounting guidebooks
Dramatic paratext (prologues, epilogues, afterpieces)
Epistolary culture
Travel writing & practices
Bookselling, printers, and the literary marketplace
Domestic advice manuals
Writing cultures at Court
Contracts and contract theory

Keynote speakers for the event are Wendy Wall, Chair and Professor in the Department of English at Northwestern University, and Devoney Looser, Associate Professor of English at the University of Missouri and Co-Editor of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies.

Proposals of 1-2 pages should be sent via e-mail attachment, along with name, contact information, and vitae, to Courtney Beggs at by September 1st.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Comité International de Paléographie Latine XVIth Colloquium
Teaching Writing, Learning To Write
September 2-5, 2008
University of London, Senate House

From the medieval viewpoint writing meant not only the skill of handwriting, but also the ability to write with 'correct' understanding of grammar, punctuation, etc. The colloquium will address the psychology and sociology of the medieval scribe. How did scribes learn to write in the Middle Ages? What was the social and cultural significance of a script chosen for a particular function? How was script influenced by features of fashion? What was the interface between scribe and reader and the graphic signs used to communicate a message? Such questions impact on the transmission of texts, the growth of literacy and history of reading.

Dans l'optique médiéval, savoir écrire signifiait non seulement maîtriser la technique d'écriture, mais aussi être capable d'écrire avec une intelligence "correcte" de la grammaire, de la ponctuation, etc. Le colloque s'intéressera à la psychologie et à la sociologie du scribe médiéval. Comment les scribes apprenaient-ils à écrire au Moyen Age? Que signifiait, en termes sociaux et culturels, l'adoption d'une écriture pour une fonction particulière? Dans quelle mesure l'écriture était-elle influencée par les tendances de la mode? Quelle était l'interface entre le scribe, le lecteur et les signes graphiques utilisés pour transmettre un message? Ce type de questions a des répercussions sur la tradition des textes, le développement de l'alphabétisme, et l'histoire de la lecture.

Provisional program, registration forms, and additional info available here.
London Old and Middle English Research Seminar Summer Conference
Studies in the Auchinleck MS

June 20-21, 2008
Institute for English Studies
University of London, Senate House

Conference program and registration forms available here.

London Paleography Summer School and London Rare Books Summer School
at the Center for MS and Print Studies
Institute of English Studies
University of London

More info here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

American Antiquarian Society, Worcester MA
NEW ACQUISITION--Early Montreal Imprint

Catholic Church. Officium in honorem Domini Nostri J. C. summi sacerdotis et omnium sanctorum sacerdotum ac levitarum. Monti-Regali [Montreal]: Fleury Mesplet, 1777.

One of the earliest imprints from the first press established at Montreal. Born in France, Fleury Mesplet moved first to London and then to Philadelphia in 1774. There he printed for a short time.including, at the behest of the Continental Congress, a French translation of a military manual for use in the ill-fated Canadian campaign.before moving his press to American-held Montreal in May 1776. But Montreal fell to the British a month later, and Mesplet remained to print a newspaper and other works, though his relations with British authorities were understandably strained. Six hundred copies were printed of this pamphlet containing the office to be celebrated on the first Thursday following August 29. It is now the second earliest Montreal imprint at AAS.

Visit the AAS's website.
Black Founders: The Free Black Community in the Early Republic
An exhibition at The Library Company of Philadelphia
March 10-October 10, 2008

Abraham Lincoln was not the Great Emancipator. True, Lincoln did sign the Emancipation Proclamation 145 years ago, on January 1, 1863. The Proclamation did outlaw slavery in Confederate states. It validated the freedom journeys undertaken by many enslaved people toward the North. But the struggle of American blacks to secure rights as citizens—as free people—began years before our first bearded President took up his pen.

Take Absalom Jones. Born into slavery in 1746, he purchased freedom for himself and his wife, and then became the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church and an outspoken abolitionist.

Or the Allens. Richard Allen and Jones founded the Free Africa Society in 1787, the first organization in the U.S. founded by blacks for blacks. Sarah Allen outlived her husband by almost two decades and was herself a leader in Philadelphia’s free black community, piloting many slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad.

The Library Company’s new exhibition, “Black Founders: The Free Black Community in the Early Republic” features Jones, the Allens, and many other newly-freed African Americans in the north. It tracks their struggles to found independent churches, schools, fraternal, and educational associations, and to champion the status of African Americans as equal citizens on the American landscape. They held close the tenants of egalitarian Christianity and championed that single-sentence affirmation of “certain unalienable rights” in the American Declaration of Independence. Theirs was the most consistent voice for multi-racial democracy in the new republic, and their words and deeds helped inspire a vigorous American antislavery movement.

The issues of abolitionism, exodus, and white supremacy consumed popular media for decades before the Civil War. “Black Founders” features books, pamphlets, and newspaper articles by these individuals, promoting their
own welfare, championing their rights, struggling against slavery, and defining themselves as Americans in what was a mostly hostile white society. Excluded from national civic ceremonies such as Fourth of July festivities, they
celebrated the abolition of the slave trade in 1808—two hundred years ago, on January 1, 1808—by making January 1 the first African American holiday. Excluded from schools and educational societies, they formed their own. Denied access to the political system, they made alliances with supportive whites to promote their political rights. As movements arose to drive them from American society, they protested and resisted—but at the same time supported movements to consider emigration beyond the influence of American slavery and racism. In fact, the liveliness of the printed debate makes Lincoln look like nothing less than a Johnny-come-lately.

The exhibition runs through October 10 in the Louis Lux-Sions and Harry Sions Gallery at 1314 Locust Street (open from 9:00am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday). It covers the years after the American Revolution up to 1830, when the first national convention of African Americans brought together blacks from all over the north to consider a national program for their rights and sharpen their campaign against slavery. Though “Black Founders” features African Americans from all over the United States, the primary focus is on the Philadelphia black community, the largest of the northern free black communities in the remaining years of American slavery.

“Black Founders” builds on one of the Library Company’s greatest subject strengths. The Afro-Americana Collection comprises over 13,000 titles and almost 1,000 graphics, and includes books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, broadsides, and graphics. Ranging in date from the mid 16th century into the early years of the 20th century, it covers an equally vast range of topics. It documents the western discovery and exploitation of Africa; the rise of both slavery in the new world and the movements against slavery; the development of racial thought and racism; descriptions of African American life, slave and free, throughout the Americas; slavery and race in fiction and drama; and the printed works of African American individuals and organizations. “Black Founders” will give visitors a choice view of items important in the development of liberty and justice for all.

More info here.