Programme Released for Best Sellers in the Pre-Industrial Age

Received from Dr. Shanti Graheli

Past & Present is pleased to be one of the sponsors of “Best Sellers in the Pre-Industrial Age” at the University of Glasgow 22nd-24th May 2019. The organisers have now released the full programme for the event and it can be downloaded here.

The outline of the event below is taken from the call for papers:

Bestsellers, TV series, spin-offs, fan fiction, are all deeply embedded in our perception of literary consumer culture today. Yet the notion of a bestseller with spin-offs is a very old one indeed. The consolidation of the printing press in the Renaissance led to the first major re-assessment of the book as an object of ‘mass’ consumption. Lower production costs, paired with a rise of literacy levels, brought more books to an ever-growing reading public. Printers and publishers devised marketing strategies to meet demand, such as serialisation and branding, the creation of abridgements and illustrated editions, spin-offs and games inspired by the most successful texts. Foreign and ancient texts were re-packaged in translation or alongside new commentaries. Bestsellers catered for all types of readers, or indeed users, with oral transmission playing an important part in the dissemination of texts.

While individual aspects of this production cycle have been explored – from popular print to the concept of a literary sequel, marketing strategies and readers’ reactions – there has been no attempt to investigate bestsellers as a phenomenon in the round. This conference takes a holistic approach by combining approaches to the materiality of the book, the economics of trade, and the socio-cultural factors behind bestsellers into a single interpretive perspective with the study of authorship, literary production and translation theories.

Registration is now open on the University of Glasgow's online shop. 
Registration closes on 13th May 2019.

Past & Present is pleased to support this event and other events like it. Applications for event funding are welcomed from scholars working in the field of historical studies at all stages in their careers.

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