2006 Summer Seminar
Books and Their Readers to 1800 and Beyond
June 12-15, 2006
This seminar deals with the meaning and forms of signatures, marginalia,
gift inscriptions, and other marks of ownership, especially as they
illuminate the emotional and intellectual relations to artifacts. We will
examine books as parents, children, friends, mentors, loved ones, prompt
texts for performance, witnesses, cultural capital, and sources of
authority and authorization. The latter case is part of the work of
commonplace books, though transcribed or edited extracts serve multiple
personal ends. Working with specific artifacts, the class will engage the
charged vocabulary of things, commodities, possessions, and belongings and
will ask the question in what way is a book "owned." One point of
departure is the assumption that any collection of books is an
autobiography written with objects rather than words and focuses on
collecting as both preservation and the conferral of new meanings onto
texts. All of these concerns turn on the history of reading and the
complexities of readerly identification with its edification, dangers, and
pleasures. Drawing heavily on the interest of class members, the pay-off
of the class will be the multiplication of the kinds of questions one can
ask of books in their incarnational mixture of materiality and meaning.
View the syllabus
* Jay Fliegelman, Stanford University
* Leah Price, Harvard University
* Members of the AAS staff
The fee for the seminar is $695, which includes tuition, selected course
materials, two dinners, and four lunches. A limited amount of financial
aid is available. Preference for assistance will be given to first-time
AAS summer seminar attendees.
Housing, at special seminar rates, is available at the Courtyard by
Marriott in Worcester. The hotel is about a ten-minute walk from the
Society, and only a few minutes by car.
- Worcester Courtyard by Marriott, 72 Grove Street, Worcester, MA
Please visit the Worcester Courtyard by Marriott's Summer Seminar webpage for details on seminar
Deadline for reservations is Friday, May 19, 2006.
- For more information about the seminar in general and about the
seminar program in particular, contact Joanne Chaison
- For questions related to logistics, contact Cheryl
McRell (cmcrell[at]mwa.org; 508-471-2149).
About the Seminar Leader
Jay Fliegelman is the William Robertson Coe Professor of American
Literature and American Studies at Stanford University, where he has won
multiple teaching awards. He is the author of Prodigals and Pilgrims:
American Revolution Against Patriarchal Authority, 1750-1800 and
Independence: Jefferson, Natural Language, and Performance and is now
completing a book called Belongings: Dramas of American Book Ownership,
page at Stanford
About the Guest Faculty
Leah Price is Professor of English at Harvard
University. She is the author of The Anthology and the Rise of the
co-editor of Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture, as well as a
special issue of PMLA on "The History of the Book and the Idea of
Literature." She also co-directs two seminars at the Harvard Humanities
Center, one on Victorian Studies and the other on the History of the Book.
page at Harvard
~ Contact Information
~ Directions to AAS
~ About the seminar leader
~ About the guest faculty
~ View the syllabus
~ Previous summer seminars
The deadline for receiving applications has passed.
Those accepted into the seminar will be informed by the end of March.