Events: Paper, Pen and Ink, The Open University Book History Research Group Seminars 2013-14

The Open University will hold its Book History Research Group seminars (nine Monday evenings from November to May) at Senate House, London. This seminar series explores the rich variety of writing in manuscript that took place in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Each paper opens a window onto a different kind of manuscript activity – from the writing of poetry to the compilation of parish registers, from amateur and professional musicians’ use of lute-books to the note-taking strategies of university students – and assesses both its material processes and its broader cultural roles. As well as looking at the details of individual manuscripts (including previously unstudied material) and excavating the norms of a wide variety of different manuscript genres, speakers will provide new perspectives on topics such as the the history of manuscript studies, assumptions about the nature of ‘manuscript culture’ and ‘print culture’, the relationship between manuscripts and the ‘material turn’ in early modern studies and the challenges of editing early modern manuscripts.

Monday 4 November 2013:  Tom Lockwood (University of Birmingham), ‘‘‘With wordes of my profession I replie’: New Manuscripts of Sir John Davies (1569-1626) and the Development of Manuscript Studies’

Monday 13 January  2014,   Helen  Smith  (University of York), ‘Paper: Beyond  Words’

Monday 3 February, Sebastiaan Verweij (University of Oxford), ‘Reading Records: The Commonplace Books of Francis Russell at Woburn Abbey’

Monday 3 March 2014, Christopher Burlinson (Jesus College, Cambridge), ‘Manuscripts in the Early Modern Universities’

Monday 17 March 2014,  Carlo Bajetta  (Università  della Valle d’Aosta), ‘Making Sense of Chaos: Analysing Early Modern  Manuscripts’

Monday 14 April 2014,  Heather  Wolfe (Folger  Shakespeare Library, Washington DC), ‘Rethinking the Price, Quality, and  Social Significance of Writing Paper in Early Modern England’

Monday 28 April 2014,  Andrew  Gordon  (University of Aberdeen), ‘The Parish Clerk and the Parish Record in Early Modern  London’

Monday 19 May 2014,  William Poole (New College, Oxford), ‘Printed Books v. Manuscripts: Economies of Production and Economies of Reception’

Monday 26 May 2014,  Julia Craig-McFeely (University of Oxford), ‘Lute Manuscripts and  their Uses’

The full programme and further details can be found at For further information, please contact the organiser, Jonathan Gibson (


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