Fifth Annual Kenneth Karmiole Lecture


The Fifth Annual Kenneth Karmiole Lecture
on the History of the Book Trade

Learned Book Illustrations, their Patrons, and the Vagaries of the Trade in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century England

by Michael F. Suarez, S.J., University of Virginia

at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

Saturday, November 7 at 2 pm

From the mid-seventeenth century, English antiquaries, cartographers, classicists, and scientists increasingly sought to produce large folios with elaborate illustrations.  But how to pay for the enormous production costs of such works?  Engravings by the leading practitioners of the day—whether depicting the beauties of the great cathedrals, the epic glories of classical antiquity, or the finer points of natural history—required significant investments in both men and materials.  This lecture will consider the commercial and cultural expedients that self-publishing authors, learned societies, and projecting booksellers developed to finance their books, many of exceeding beauty and genuine importance.  Examining these “books for looking” produced for cultural elites and chiefly underwritten by their intended readerships, we encounter narratives of fiscal irresponsibility, signal innovation, shameless advertising, remarkable networking, outright deception, outstanding loyalty, and brazen vanity.  Reading these lavish images and the stories of their making—in botanical books and star atlases, deluxe classical translations and county histories—compels us to consider the traffic between culture and commerce, to contemplate the exchanges between text and trade in new and illuminating ways.  Understanding materiality and meaning as mutually informing, we will attend to questions of patronage and capitalization, consumption, monumentality, and ideologies both political and religious as they bear on cultural and intellectual life in Restoration and early eighteenth-century England.

Michael F. Suarez, S.J. is University Professor and Director of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia.  He is co-General Editor of two large projects from Oxford University Press: The Oxford Companion to the Book, a million-word reference work on bibliography and book history (January 2010), and the Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins (8 volumes, 2006–13). A Jesuit priest, he received his doctorate in English Literature from Oxford University and has held research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.  Fittingly, Michael Suarez’s visit to the Clark Library as the Karmiole Lecturer coincides with the publication of his co-edited volume, The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, volume 5, 1695–1830 (Cambridge UP, 2009), a work that promises to be a landmark in eighteenth-century studies.

Registration Deadline: November 2, 2009.

Please click here for a printable registration form.

Admission is complimentary, but advance registration is required.

Please be aware that space at the Clark is limited and that registration closes when capacity is reached. No confirmation will be sent, but we will contact you if we receive your registration after we reach capacity.

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