Book History @ Sheffield is one whole semester old! In spring and early summer we held three research events, each leading to lively discussion:
Marcus Nevitt presented his work on newsbooks in revolutionary England to a packed house. Marcus exposed the incipient techniques and strategies of book advertising by looking particularly at Mercurius Politicus, a newsbook by the propagandist Marchamont Needham. He showed that through the energetic and fluid medium of book advertising, seventeenth-century bibliophiles were provided with a discursive forum in print. Book trade advertising is a rich source for book historians that scholars are only now beginning to appreciate.
A paratext-oriented Windows on Research session in April involved three flash presentations by Sean Williams, Alex Hitchman and Rachel Stenner, who introduced their work on prefaces, printer’s ornaments and paratextual dialogue.
Emma Rhatigan then rounded off the semester’s activities with a detailed breakdown of her editorial work on John Donne’s sermons that analysed the tantalising problems of balancing an editorial rationale with subjective judgment. She fascinatingly unpacked the ways that performance markers remain present in Donne’s handwritten sermons, and how this affects our understanding of the relationships between manuscript, print and performance in the composition and circulation of the sermon.