Milton and Materiality

deadline for submissions: 
December 17, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
UC Berkeley - Townsend Center Working Group for the History of the Book
contact email: 

A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. 

Hosted by the Townsend Center Working Group for The History of the Book, this one-day (16 February 2019) symposium seeks to explore the relationship between Milton and the seventeenth-century English book trade. In addition to papers addressing book history and material culture, we welcome approaches interrogating any aspect of the “material” as it relates to Milton’s work. To what extent can the immaterial be housed within the material? Are current methodologies of book history capable of appreciating this relationship without deconstructing it? Are there salient methodological connections to be made between book history and materialism as a philosophical or historical perspective? How might seventeenth-century economics of print, textual networks, and print culture assist us in understanding Milton as author, politician, and cultural icon?


Potential Topics May Include:


  • technologies of reading
  • libraries, archives, and databases
  • translation and international print networks
  • the materiality of the body
  • disability and disabled authorship
  • performance and recitation
  • markets of entertainment
  • classical materialism
  • reception history
  • Milton and the Book of Nature
  • Materializing Christianity
  • Materiality and Miltonic Cosmology


Papers should be 20 minutes in length. Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to Miles Drawdy ( by 1 December 2018.