Structures of Meaning in the History of the Book

Structures of Meaning in the History of the Book
Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21, 2013

This symposium will examine how meaning has been and continues to be organized around the material structures of the book — those conceived in manuscript, print, and new media.

It will begin on Friday afternoon at the Beinecke with a “Biblio-Laboratory,” which will highlight particular questions or points of instability in the relationship between structure and meaning in book history. Drawing objects – with their elusive, resistant qualities – into the discussion of objects, the laboratory frames discussion around the relationships that articulate the textual artifact as focus of research. After this, David Scott Kastan will deliver the symposium’s keynote, which will be followed by a reception. We will then gather at the Yale Department of English on Saturday for three seminar sessions, each centering on short, pre-circulated papers from panelists that respond to a set of organizing questions. Seminar chairs will provide introductory comments, launching discussions that aim to get at what are arguably the central questions asked by what has become known as the History of the Book: how do the forms in which texts are physically constituted and circulated affect their meaning, and how might these forms affect the very texts that are written and transmitted in the first place?

Friday, September 20, 2013, 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Beinecke Library, room 38/39
Raymond Clemens, Kathryn James, Marie-France LeMay, Aaron Pratt, Gabriela Redwine, Jae Rossman

David Scott Kastan
Friday, September 20, 2013, 4:30 pm
Beinecke Library mezzanine

Symposium Panels
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 9 am – 5 pm
Participants include: Arthur Bahr (MIT), Jessica Brantley (Yale), Carol Chiodo (Yale), Lisa Gitelman (NYU), Bruce Gordon (Yale),Jeffrey Todd Knight (Washington), Aaron T. Pratt (Yale), Gabriela Redwine (Yale), John Williams (Yale)