UPDATE: Birth of the Bestseller: The 19th Century Book in Britain, France and Beyond (9/1/06; 3/29/07-3/31/07)

full name / name of organization: 
Mark Samuels Lasner
contact email: 

UPDATE: plenary speakers announced

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

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, or 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

Plenary speakers for the conference:

Petra T. Chu, Professor of Art History and Director, MA Program of
Museum Professions, Seton Hall University
Marie E. Corey, Librarian, Robertson Davies Library, Massey College in
the University of Toronto
Margaret D. Stetz, Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women's Studies
and Professor of Humanities, University of Delaware
John Sutherland, Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English
Literature, University College London
Michael Winship, Professor of English, University of Texas at Austin

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
-- illustration for popular and elite audiences
-- authors and authorship, illustrators, publishers, designers, agents,
and printers, their roles, their relations, the rise of celebrity
-- 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: http://www.bibsocamer.org.
Mark Samuels Lasner
Senior Research Fellow
University of Delaware Library
181 South College Avenue
Newark, DE 19717
Tel (302) 831-3250

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham: higginbj_at_english.upenn.edu
Received on Fri Aug 04 2006 - 09:25:59 EDT