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“Book Traces: Nineteenth-Century Readers and the Future of the Library”

with Andrew Stauffer

Tuesday, September 21, 2021, at 7:00 PM ET

Approx. 60 minutes

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This online event is free, but registration is required.
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In most college and university libraries, materials published before 1800 have been moved into special collections, while the post-1923 books remain in general circulation. But books published between these dates are vulnerable to deaccessioning; often libraries clear out the duplicates, assuming that circulating copies of any given nineteenth-century edition are essentially identical to one another. When you look closely, however, you see that they are not.

In this conversation about his new book, Book Traces, Andrew M. Stauffer will discuss what he calls "guided serendipity"--a tactic he adopts to read nineteenth-century poetry through the clues and objects earlier readers left in their books to defend the value of keeping the physical volumes on the shelves. By locating books with inscriptions, annotations, and insertions made by their original owners, Stauffer shows how the physical, historical book enables a modern reader to encounter poetry through the eyes of someone for whom it was personal.

Headshot of Andrew StaufferAndrew Stauffer is professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he specializes in nineteenth-century British literature and book history and has taught at the Rare Book School. He is the author of Book Traces: Nineteenth-Century Readers and the Future of the Library (2021) and Anger, Revolution, and Romanticism (2005), and the editor of works by Robert Browning and H. Rider Haggard. Stauffer has been the recipient of fellowships from the ACLS, the NEH, the NYPL, the Huntington, and the BSA, and grants from the NEH and the Mellon Foundation. He serves as the president of the Byron Society of America and is currently co-editing Byron’s poetry for Oxford University Press.

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