Past Lectures

2018 - 2019

The 2018-2019 program was organized around a series of public panel discussions on the theme of ‘the thing is,’ an exploration of the idea of the text as material object.

Spring 2019

Whitney Trettien (Assistant Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania)
Andrew Brown (Ph.D. Candidate in English, Yale)
Chair: Cathy DeRose (Digital Humanities Lab, Yale)
January 30, 2019

Heather Wolfe (Curator of Manuscripts and Archivist, Folger Shakespeare Library)
Peter Stallybrass (Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor English, Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania)
Chair: Kathryn James (Curator, Beinecke Library)
February 20, 2019

Leah Price (Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English Literature, Harvard)
Johanna Drucker (Breslauer Professor of Bibliographical Studies, School of Information Studies, UCLA)
Chair: Trina Hyun (Ph.D. Candidate in English, Yale)
April 3, 2019

Fall 2018

Bill Brown (Karla Scherer Distinguished Service Professor in American Culture, University of Chicago)
Marta Figlerowicz (Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and English, Yale)
John Durham Peters (María Rosa Menocal Professor of English and of Film & Media Studies, Yale)
Chair: Michael Warner (Seymour H. Knox Professor of English, Professor of American Studies, Yale)
September 26, 2018

Tiffany Stern (Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama, Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham)
David Scott Kastan (George M. Bodman Professor of English, Yale)
Chair: Stephen Orgel (Jackson Eli Reynolds Professor in Humanities, Emeritus, Stanford University)
November 14, 2018

Deidre Lynch (Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Harvard)
Katie Trumpener (Emily Sanford Professor of Comparative Literature and English, Yale)
Chair: Jill Campbell (Professor of English, Yale)
December 5, 2018

Spring 2018

Juliet Fleming
Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies for the M.A. Program, New York University
"Cultural Graphology as a Regional Science"
January 17, 2018

Meredith McGill
Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University
"Print Formats and Poetic Genres: Rethinking Antebellum American Poetry"
February 28, 2018

Christina Lupton
Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick
"Book Reading and the Materiality of the Future"
April 25, 2018

Fall 2017

Adam Smyth
Professor of English Literature and the History of the Book, University of Oxford
“Cultures of Waste: Recycling Bibles in Early Modern England”
September 20, 2017

Paul Needham
Scheide Librarian, Princeton University
“The Gutenberg Bible in its Manuscript Context”
November 1, 2017

Bruce Gordon
Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Yale Divinity School
“ ‘Blessed Jerome’: The Fate of the Vulgate in the Reformation”
December 6, 2017

Spring 2017

Zachary Lesser
Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania

“Ghosts, Holes, and Rips: The Pavier Quartos Re-examined”
January 18, 2017

Patricia Crain
Aâssociate Professor of English, New York University

Reading Children: Literacy and the New Work of Nineteenth-century U.S. Childhood”
February 1, 2017


Tiffany Stern
Professor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London

“Playing Songs and Singing Plays: Ballads and Plays in the Time of Shakespeare”
March 29, 2017


Elizabeth McHenry

Associate Professor of English, New York University
“Making Negro Literature: Literary Workspaces at the Margins of Print Culture”
April 19, 2017


Fall 2016

Margreta de Grazia
Emerita Sheli Z. and Burton X. Rosenberg Professor of the Humanities, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
“Chronological Cruxes in the Shakespearean Canon”
October 12, 2016

Peter Blayney
Adjunct Professor, Department of English, University of Toronto
“Book-Piracy in the Reign of Mary Tudor”
November 9, 2016

Peter Stallybrass
Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
“What Is a Letter?”
December 7, 2016


Spring 2016

Jonathan Rose
Professor of History, Drew University
“Don’t Believe This Paper: A Doubtful History of Skeptical Reading”
March 9, 2016

Belinda Jack
Fellow and Tutor in French at Christ Church, University of Oxford
“What Can We Really Know? The History of the Book versus the History of Reading”
April 6, 2016


Fall 2015

Joseph Dane
Professor of English, University of Southern California
“How Many Chaucerians Does It Take to Count to Ten? Horrors of the Obvious in Humanities Research”
October 28, 2015

Stephanie Frampton
Assistant Professor of Classical Literature, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
“Hitting up Herculaneum: Reading and Publishing Roman Graffiti in 2015”
December 9, 2015


Spring 2015 

Mordechai Levy-Eichel
PhD Candidate, Department of History, Yale University
“‘Good and Useful Learning’: The Expansion of Mathematics in Early Modern English Printing”
January 22, 2015

Cathleen Baker & Caleb Smith
Conservation Librarian and Adjunct Lecturer, University of Michigan, &
Professor of English and American Studies, Yale University
“The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict”
February 4, 2015

Kathy Peiss                                                 

Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History, University of Pennsylvania
“Information in Wartime: American ‘Bookmen’ and their Acquisitions in World War II”
March 4, 2015


Alexandra Gillespie

Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Toronto
“Chaucer in Fragments: Collating The Canterbury Tales”
April 15, 2015


Fall 2014

Henry Woudhuysen

Rector, Lincoln College, University of Oxford
“Adulteration and Vampment: The ‘Improvement’ of Rare Books, 1750-1950”
October 1, 2014

(Co-sponsored by the Renaissance Colloquium, Department of English.)


Blair Hedges

Professor and Director, Center for Biodiversity, Temple University
“Wormholes and the Science of Prints”
November 5, 2014


Garrett Stewart

James O. Freedman Professor of Letters, Department of English, University of Iowa
“Codex 2.0: Turning the Conceptual Page”
December 3, 2014


Spring 2014

 Elizabeth Frengel

Reference Librarian, Beinecke Library

“When Extra-Literary Becomes Literary: The Endpaper Maps of E.H. Shepard and Jules Feiffer”
January 23, 2014

Marc Michael Epstein

Professor of Religion and Visual Culture, Vassar College

“Book Arts and the Expansion of the Methodological Toolbox for the Study of Medieval Judaism”
February 12, 2014


Timothy Barrett

Professor, University of Iowa, School of Library and Information Sciences

“Papermakers Who Made Parchment: Product Innovation in 14th- and 15th-Century European Papermaking”
March 5, 2014


Jessie Ann Owens

Distinguished Professor of Music, University of California – Davis

“From Concept to Printed Book: The Genesis and Manufacture of Thomas Morley’s 1597 Music Treatise”
April 9, 2014


Fall 2013

 Leslie Howsam

University Professor of History, University of Windsor
“Mediated Histories: How Victorian Periodicals Parsed the Past”
October 2, 2013 

Randall McLeod

Graduate Faculty, University of Toronto

“De motu cordis textus”
November 6, 2013


Peter Kornicki

Emeritus Professor of Japanese, University of Cambridge

“Sins of Omission: What the Publishers’ Catalogues of Edo-period Japan Left Out”
December 11, 2013


Spring 2013

 Aaron T. Pratt

PhD Candidate, Department of English, Yale University

“Buying Playbooks in Early Modern England”
January 17, 2013


Roger Chartier

Annenberg Visiting Professor in History, University of Pennsylvania

“Author’s Hand and Printer’s Mind in Early Modern Europe”
February 6, 2013


Elizabeth Eisenstein

Emertius Professor of History, University of Michigan

“Reactions to a New Medium in the Old Millenium”
March 6, 2013


Matthew Kirschenbaum

Associate Professor of English, University of Maryland

“Track Changes: The Literary History of Word-Processing”
April 25, 2013


Fall 2012 

Michael Warner

Seymour H. Knox Professor of English and Professor of American Studies, Yale University

“Preachers and Publics”
October 10, 2012


Robert Darnton

Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor, Emeritus and University Librarian, Emeritus, Harvard University

“Blogging, Now and Then (250 Years Ago)”
October 24, 2012


David Brewer

Associate Professor of English, Ohio State University

“The Ancien Régime of Authorial Names”
December 13, 2012
(Co-sponsored by the 18th- and 19th-Century Colloquium, Department of English).