When Johannes Gutenberg and his followers started printing books, around 1452, the production of manuscripts did not come to a sudden end. On the contrary: during the second half of the 15th century, the production of handwritten books increased substantially until the 1480s and remained high until the end of the 1490s. In the course of the 16th century we notice the appearance of new kinds of manuscripts, unknown in the 15th century, such as cookery books and handbooks for craftsmen. These developments came along with a shift in the conditions for the production of manuscripts, in the design and lay-out of manuscripts, and in writing and reading habits, as Europe shifts dramatically to an ever growing number of printed books.
Lindsay Van Tine, Ph.D. Candidate in English, Columbia University
Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 6:00 PM
Butler Library, Room 523
In the nineteenth century, an era in which geography was held to be the “eye of history,” books ranging from Bibles to exploration narratives included prominent fold-out maps. Yet modern scholarly editing and digitization practices have made these crucial paratexts invisible to most readers, and even book historians have tended to overlook them as the province of cartographic history. Taking the fold-out maps appended to Washington Irving’s A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828) as a case study, this talk will explore their material and formal features to shed new light on the geopolitics of Irving’s bestselling work. The maps reconstruct Columbus’ transatlantic routes on the basis of fifteenth-century documents recovered from Spain’s imperial archives and plot these routes on the most up-to-date, scientifically-surveyed hydrographic charts, thus materializing the legacy of “discovery” by collapsing past and present into a single geographic frame. Maps like these have much to show us about the material links between book and map printing, the relation of narrative history to geography, and the spatial imaginaries of the nineteenth-century Atlantic World.
Lindsay Van Tine is a Ph.D. Candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University specializing in American literatures to 1865, with a particular focus on entangled Atlantic World colonialisms, New World historiography, Anglo-American proprietary authorship, and archival accumulation in the United States. She is currently completing a dissertation entitled “Translated Conquests: Archive, History, and Territory in Hemispheric American Literatures, 1823-1854,” which bridges hemispheric studies and book history to explore the process by which the United States claimed New World history and territory through the material archive of Spanish empire. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture at the University of Virginia.
The Book History Colloquium at Columbia University, open to any discipline, aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Our presenters include Columbia faculty members and advanced graduate students, and scholars of national prominence from a range of institutions.
Questions? Email Karla Nielsen.