History of the Book Reading Group

History of the book reading group-1This reading group brings together staff and postgraduate students (both MA and research) to discuss the exciting methodological approaches emerging from modern scholarship on book history and material culture. One of the most vibrant areas of current scholarship, the History of the Book examines how issues such as production, dissemination, consumption, censorship, and the impact of technological change all contribute to our understanding of texts. Its methodologies are relevant to postgraduates working in all subject areas and periods. The seminar is a chance for informal discussion on issues which relate to our research, and for a bit of socialising too!

This term’s theme is ‘Reading the Past’. The readings are available in advance, either online or as photocopies placed on top of the pigeonholes near Att. 1617. Participants are asked to read the work beforehand so they can discuss their responses with the group.

History of the book reading group-2

The reading group meets during the autumn semester of each year.

Each meeting of the group will be based around recent works in the field of book history.



Autumn 2014: Reading the Past

Meetings will be held in Room 1315 at 5.30 p.m.

Wednesday 15 October

Game of Thrones and (Neo)medievalism

Jamie Adair, ‘Theon the Castrated Viking’:

[contains (a) spoilers for season 3 (b) sexually explicit content]

Daniel Lukes, ‘Comparative Neomedievalisms: A little bit medieval’:

Wednesday 29 October

Harry Potter, Merlin, and the Medieval Book

Florence Marsal, ‘Is Dumbledore another disguise? Where to find Merlin in Harry Potter’:

David Greetham, ‘Romancing the Text, Medievalizing the Book’ – to be supplied.


Thursday 20 November


Cora Kaplan, Victoriana: Histories, Fictions, Criticism (2007), Ch. 3 ‘Historical Fictions: Pastiche, politics and pleasure’ – chapter to be supplied.


Thursday 4 December

Reading to be decided by the group.

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