The Unique Copy: Extra-Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture

deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Herzog August Library
contact email: 

The Unique Copy:

Extra-Illustration, Word and Image, and Print Culture

Special Issue of the Journal Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte

Workshop (Herzog August Library, Wolfenbüttel, Germany; 24-25 May 2018)

Co-organisers and Co-editors: Dr Christina Ionescu and Dr Sandro Jung 

Dr Christina Ionescu and Dr Sandro Jung invite proposals for a special issue of the journal Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte ( on the subject of extra-illustration.

Contributors wishing to submit an article to this special issue should plan ahead to meet a firm deadline of June 15, 2018. The issue is scheduled to be published in 2019 and it will be the first of this journal to be made available in both print and digital formats.

* It is still possible to participate to the workshop as well because we are currently seeking to fill in some theoretical and thematic gaps in our programme. Please let us know if you are interested in both.




Is extra-illustration an ornamental art or does it add layers of significance and nuance to the accompanying text? How does it shed light on authorship, the act of reading, book history, and print culture? How does text-image interaction manifest itself in the extra-illustrated book-object? Is extra-illustration the equivalent of grangerising or are there other means of materially expanding the text? Is it a creative act or a form of customised reproduction or reuse of print matter? Who are the artists, readers, collectors, publishers, and curators who are responsible for the creation of extra-illustrated objects?


In his study of the history, symptoms, and cure of a fatal disease caused by the unrestrained desire to possess printed works, Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-1847) observes that “[a] passion for a book which has any peculiarity about it,” as a result of grangerising by means of collected prints, transcriptions, or various cutouts, “or which is remarkable for its size, beauty, and condition—is indicative of a rage for unique copies, and is unquestionably a strong prevailing symptom of the Bibliomania.” Extra-illustration as a practice did not emerge during bibliomaniac Dibdin’s birth century, which witnessed the publication of James Granger’s Biographical History of England (1769) and a widespread rage for unique copies of books, nor has it been extinguished in our digital era by modern technology. Whether it manifests materially as a published work that is supplemented verbally (with interleaved or pasted autograph letters, handwritten notes, or print matter either directly or tangentially linked to its content), or visually (with additional drawings, prints, maps, watercolours, photographs, or other forms of artwork that are similarly connected to a variable degree of closeness to the text), an extra-illustrated copy is important not only for its uniqueness as an original artefact and its commercial value as a desired commodity. As emblematic of an artistic, bibliographic, and cultural practice, it sheds light on its creator, the context of its production, and the reception of a text. As a form of personalised book design, it is moreover significant as a means of creative expression, an outlet of reader empowerment, and an archival repository of historical or cultural insight. Some of the popular targets of extra-illustration through time have been the Bible, biographies, historical treatises, topographical surveys, travel narratives, and popular plays.


A plethora of monographs and special journal issues dealing with book illustration from various theoretical and (inter)disciplinary perspectives have been published in recent years, but the subfield of extra-illustration remains largely unstudied. It is important to note, however, the contribution to the field by Luisa Calè, Lucy Peltz, and Stuart Sillars, who have proposed useful and in-depth reflections on extra-illustration and grangerising as a practice. To address this gap in current scholarship, we invite papers that engage with extra-illustration through the conceptual lenses of book history, print and visual culture studies, and word and image theory. Contributions that focus on original artwork contained in extra-illustrated copies from the perspective of word and image studies are of particular interest to the co-editors, as are studies of extra-illustration as a link between text, book-object, and context, as approached through the prism of the book arts and reception theory. Other possibilities include contributions investigating extra-illustration diachronically or cross-culturally, and case studies dealing with a special copy, a collection of extra-illustrated books, or an individual collector, publisher, curator, or artist responsible for the creation of such unique artefacts.


Possible themes include but are not limited to: 

ïgrangerising as a biblio-cultural practice

ïgrangerising as a form of material repurposing in relation to print culture

ïgrangerising as a fashionable and biblioclastic pastime

ïgrangerising as an act of authorship 

ïthe Grangerite, bookscrapping, and collecting practices

ïillustrative responses to the text in the form of unique infra-textual images

ïmarginal illustration and text-image interaction

ïextra-illustration as interactive and engaged reading

ïextra-illustration as emblematic of institutional/curatorial collecting practices

ïextra-illustration as personalised book design

ïextra-illustration as a window into history and intellectual thought

ïextra-illustration as a book customisation response to mass production

ïdigital imports of extra-illustration as a means of expression


500-word abstracts, along with the author’s contact information and bio-bibliographical note, should be sent to the organisers ( / by 15 August 2017