Early Modern Exchanges


Recycling Books

15 March 2017, 5:00 pm–8:00 pm

Manicule drawn in margin of book

Adam Smyth (Oxford), Recycling Books: Reading Waste in Early Modern England

This event is free.

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Early Modern Exchanges


Foster Court 307

Early modern books often carried pieces of older manuscripts and printed books within them, in the binding, paste boards, and as end-leaves. These ghostly texts are often legible: to read the Bodleian's copy of Edward Lively's A true chronologie of … the Persian monarchy (1597), is to encounter, irresistibly, parts of leaves C2 and B2 from the second quarto of Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella (1591) as endpapers. This lecture will consider the mechanics of waste (what was used? how?) before considering the ways in which recycled waste can help us rethink our ideas of the book, and of reading.

Professor Adam Smyth is the AC Bradley Tutorial Fellow in English at Balliol, and a University Lecturer in the History of the Book. He is the author of, among other things, Autobiography in Early Modern England (CUP, 2017) and the forthcoming Material Texts in Early Modern England (CU, 217). He writes regularly about early modern culture for the London Review of Books.