Workshop: Sociability and Print in the Long Eighteenth-Century

Date: Friday, November 7, 2008
Time: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Place: Arts 160, McGill University, Montreal

How do printed texts interact with other media in the formation of communities in late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Europe? As reading becomes an individual activity as opposed to a communal one, it also functions as a way of drawing together increasingly large communities, whose members cannot meet face to face. The nation, explored by Benedict Anderson, is but one example. But how do self-consciously literary communities imagine themselves in a world of profound political change in which print technologies, distribution infrastructures and property rights are evolving just as rapidly?

In bringing together scholars from both Europe and North America, we hope to highlight the links between correspondence networks, printed books, reading publics and membership in intellectual and social institutions such as academies and salons. Among the topics which may be addressed are the ways in which introductions and dedications tell us about the use of printed material to build communities and how editors consciously sought to recreate communities by publishing the work of authors together. In tackling questions such as these from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, we hope to better understand how sociability is informed by and in turn shapes interaction through a variety of media, including print.

Workshop Schedule

9:30 – 10:00am
Welcome & Coffee

10:00 – 10:15am
Opening Remarks by Susan Dalton, Université de Montréal

10:15 -11:15am
Jean Boutier, École des hautes études en sciences sociales

11:15 – 11:30am
Coffee Break

11:30 – 12:30pm
Elizabeth Eger, King’s College London
“Circles of Learning in the Bluestocking Salon: Patronage, Correspondence and Conversation”

12:30 – 1:30pm

1:30 – 2:30pm
Jane Curran, Dalhousie University
“The Social Life of Print in the German Eighteenth Century”

2:30 – 2:45pm
Coffee Break

2:45 – 3:45pm
David A. Brewer, Ohio State University
“The Sociability of Attribution”

3:45 – 4:00
Closing Remarks, TBA


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