Structures of Meaning in The History of the Book
A Symposium of the Yale Program in the History of the Book
Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21, 2013.

This symposium will examine how meaning has been and continues to be organized around the material structures of the book — those conceived in manuscript, print, and new media.

It will begin on Friday afternoon at the Beinecke with a “Biblio-Laboratory,” which will highlight particular questions or points of instability in the relationship between structure and meaning in book history. Drawing objects – with their elusive, resistant qualities – into the discussion of objects, the laboratory frames discussion around the relationships that articulate the textual artifact as focus of research. After this, David Scott Kastan will deliver the symposium’s keynote, which will be followed by a reception. We will then gather at the Yale Department of English on Saturday for three seminar sessions, each centering on short, pre-circulated papers from panelists that respond to a set of organizing questions. Seminar chairs will provide introductory comments, launching discussions that aim to get at what are arguably the central questions asked by what has become known as the History of the Book: how do the forms in which texts are physically constituted and circulated affect their meaning, and how might these forms affect the very texts that are written and transmitted in the first place?

If you would like to participate in the symposium, please RSVP to Aaron T. Pratt ( Space, unfortunately, is limited.


Friday, September 20
At the Beinecke Library

2:00-3:30pm – Biblio-Laboratory, rooms 38-39

Some lab stations include:

Chemical structures – Ink, Corrosion, and Text Loss
Marie-France Lemay (Yale)

Technological obsolescence – Data Recovery and Authorial Intent
Gabriela Redwine (Yale)

Survival – Text Fragments and Binding Structures
Ray Clemens (Yale)

Color – Joseph Albers’ Interaction of Color Re-Visited
Jae Rossman (Yale)

Binding Structures – Format, Literary Genre, and Disciplinary Reading
Aaron T. Pratt (Yale)

The Aura – Originality, Authenticity, and the Object as Fetish
Kathryn James (Yale)

4:30-6:00pm – Welcome and Keynote by David Scott Kastan (Yale)

6:00-7:00pm – Opening Reception

Saturday, September 21
At the Department of English, Linsly-Chittenden 319

9:00-10:00am – Morning Coffee

10:00-11:30am – Seminar 1, Pages and Screens
Panelists: Lisa Gitelman (NYU) and Bruce Gordon (Yale)
Respondent and Moderator: Jessica Brantley (Yale)

11:30-1:30pm – Break for Lunch

1:30-3:00pm – Seminar 2, Volumes and Packages
Panelists: Gabriela Redwine (Yale) and John Williams (Yale)
Respondent and Moderator: Aaron T. Pratt (Yale)

3:00-3:30pm – Afternoon Coffee

3:30-5:00pm – Seminar 3, Collections and Repositories
Panelists: Arthur Bahr (MIT) and Jeffrey Todd Knight (Washington)
Respondent and Moderator: Carol Chiodo (Yale)

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