"After Print: Manuscript Production and Publication in the Eighteenth Century": CSECS, Montreal, QC, 15-18 Oct. 2014

full name / name of organization: 
Rachael King, NYU, and Andrew Bricker, Stanford

"After Print: Manuscript Production and Publication in the Eighteenth Century"
Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Montreal, QC
15-18 October 2014

Scholars have long pointed to the importance of the print revolution for eighteenth-century literature, studying such key factors as the rapid expansion of the print marketplace, the massive growth in literacy, and the ever-diminishing costs of production. In this narrative, the print revolution, along with the lapse of the Licensing Act in 1695, rendered superfluous an entire world of licit and illicit manuscript circulation. By the early eighteenth century, scholars contend, the production and circulation of a range of manuscript wares—verse collections, hand-written newsletters, scurrilous lampoons, and commonplace books—had dwindled into insignificance, as "publication" came to mean "printing."

But what does this teleological account perhaps miss? Was the transition from manuscript to print so seamless? In what ways, in fact, did manuscript circulation continue on a large or small scale? In recent years, a growing number of scholars has highlighted the continuing role of manuscript as a professional literary and scientific medium throughout the eighteenth century. This panel will bring together a range of scholars to explore multiple dimensions of eighteenth-century manuscripts, and to discuss the importance of manuscript studies to the field of eighteenth-century literature more generally. Send brief proposals (c. 250 words) to Andrew Bricker and Rachael King, abricker@stanford.edu and rsk328@nyu.edu, by Sunday, March 30, 2014.