Friday, May 05, 2006

CFP: Birth of the Bestseller: The 19th Century Book in Britain, France, and Beyond

CFP: Birth of the Bestseller: The 19th Century Book in Britain, France, and Beyond (conference in New York, 29-31 March 2007) Location: New York, United States
Call for Papers Date: 2006-09-01

“Birth of the Bestseller: The 19th Century Book in Britain, France, and Beyond”
The Bibliographical Society of America invites proposals for papers to be delivered at “Birth of the Bestseller: The 19th Century Book in Britain, France, and Beyond,” a conference on book history to be held in New York on 29-31 March 2007.

The nineteenth century saw enormous changes in the world of books. The rise of a mass readership, the invention of machine-driven technologies, new reproduction methods, and an astonishing variation in literature, authorship, publishing, periodicals, printing, typography, illustration, marketing, taste, and design contributed to an era of intense complexity and development. Yet, despite growing interest over the decades, some aspects of the period remain largely unstudied. This conference, to take place at three prestigious venues, will focus on the physical book in nineteenth century Britain, France, the United States, and elsewhere.

The conference topic and location are occasioned by concurrent exhibitions at the Grolier Club (“Lucien and Esther Pissarro’s Eragny Press”), the Morgan Library & Museum (“Victorian Best-sellers”), and the Fales Library, New York University (“Nothing New: The Persistence of the Bestseller”). Related exhibitions and events will be held during Spring 2007 at the Bard Graduate Center and the New York Public Library.

Subjects for proposals may include, but are not limited to:

-- production, publication, circulation, and marketing of bestsellers (not limited to fiction)
-- genres and formats specific to or developed in, the nineteenth century, such as books in “parts,” the three-volume novel, yellowbacks, penny dreadfuls, cheap reprints and original series, editions de luxe, private press books, illustrated books and magazines, photographically-illustrated books
-- development of a mass reading public, the rise of periodicals
-- new publishing and marketing strategies
-- international production and markets across the Channel and the oceans through communication, travel, and shipping
-- changes in production technology—including printing, typography, papermaking, bookbinding, and reproductive methods—and the impact on content, the publishing and printing industry, and the economics of bookmaking
-- illustration for popular and elite audiences
-- authors and authorship, illustrators, publishers, designers, agents, and printers, their roles, their relations, the rise of celebrity status
-- book collecting, bibliophily, the rise of bibliographical studies
-- copyright and piracy
-- Arts and Crafts reaction against industrial book design, private presses, limited editions
-- implications for research on print culture and publishing history

Abstracts (one page maximum) for 20 minute papers, together with a curriculum vitae or resume, must be received by the conference committee by 1 September 2006. Proposals may be sent via e-mail or regular mail to the Chair of the committee:

Mark Samuels Lasner
Senior Research Fellow
University of Delaware Library
181 South College Avenue
Newark, DE 19717

“Birth of the Bestseller”is organized by the Bibliographical Society of America and is co-sponsored by the Grolier Club, the Morgan Library & Museum, and the Fales Library, New York University. Supported in part by the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For further information, go to: