What's Class Got To With It?

full name / name of organization: 
Renaissance English Text Society
contact email: 

The Renaissance English Text Society invites abstracts for 2014 MLA to be held 9-12 January in Chicago, Illinois

What's class got to do with it?

Early Modern books and manuscripts not only searched for readers; they also created them, in part by exploiting social class. RETS welcomes abstracts on this interconnection between texts and class. Papers may range from theoretical discussions to specific local examples of the intersections of texts and class.

For example, what points of identification in social status did books and manuscripts offer, through their physical qualities, through paratextual materials, through networks of circulation, through handwriting styles, or "other" elements? What purposes—commercial, political, devotional—might these points of identification be intended to serve? Are indications of class--within manuscripts and books and among readers--reflective of actual social positions or are they aspirational? How does social class intersect with constructions of taste? What might these tell us about readers, as anticipated or imagined? How do issues of class status affect what we know about the creation and circulation of books and manuscript?

Please send a 250-word abstract, a list of keywords, and a one-page CV both to me at maryelamb@aol.com and also to Anne Lake Prescott at aprescot@barnard.edu by
20 March 2013. E-mail attachments in Microsoft Word are preferred.