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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Inventions of the Text Seminar Series

Inventions of the Text complements our Research Seminar series. Inventions is organised by a team of postgraduate researchers, and combines papers by academics from Durham and beyond with presentations by PhD students. Seminars run roughly every couple of weeks during term time, with around eight or nine events a year. After each seminar, attendees are welcome to socialise with the speaker(s) over dinner. They are generally for University staff and students, although sometimes open to the public.

Forthcoming Inventions of the Text Seminars

"Enprynted by me Will[ia]m Caxton": Marketing Manuscripts after Print

14th November 2018, 17:30 to 19:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Dr Aditi Nafde (Newcastle University)

After the advent of print, the role of the scribe was at risk of becoming obsolete. This Inventions of the Text seminar will show how scribes sought to emulate print practices as a way to keep their craft alive.

About This Talk

In British Library Additional 22718, there is a colophon that reads, “Here endith þe book named þe dictes or sayingys of the philisopheres enprynted by me Will[ia]m Caxton at Westmynstre þe yere of our lord M.CCCC.lxxvii”. The manuscript is clearly not a printed book and yet it includes a colophon that suggests it is. This paper examines the way in which some scribes were actively and consciously rethinking and redefining their role in response to print. One of the places where we see this most clearly is in manuscripts copied from printed books, where scribes often imitated print practices, thereby broadening their repertoire to include reproducing the look of printed books. While book historians now talk about the happy co-existence of manuscript and print, manuscripts went further still to harness some of the marketing techniques of print to enable scribes better sell their wares after print.

Contact for more information about this event.

Past Inventions of the Text Seminars