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Public Lecture–Prof Tom Mole on ‘Books in the World of Things’

After his unexpected change of plans in March, we are delighted to be able to welcome Professor Tom Mole from Edinburgh University, a Professor of English and Book History, to deliver what promises to be a very lively lecture for the Centre for the Book.

Prof. Mole is the co-author with Michelle Levy of The Broadview Introduction to Book History (2017) and its accompanying Broadview Reader in Book History.  He also even more recently published a monograph, What the Victorians Made of Romanticism: Material Artifacts, Cultural Practices, and Reception History (Princeton University Press, 2017; distributed by Oxford in the UK).  That book received commendation as one of the two best book history publications in the past year at the SHARP conference in Sydney just a fortnight ago.

Here is Prof. Mole’s summary of his talk to entice you to come along on Monday, August 6th in Archway 2 at 5:30 pm:

The book is our most durable and familiar communications technology. It’s an object that pervades our lives from before we can read and turns up everywhere in our education, our work and our leisure. But we hardly ever pay attention to the book as an object. We’re taught not to from an early age: learning to read means learning to stop looking at the book in front of us and start looking through it. As a result, we miss the messages books send, because we’re too busy trying to decipher the messages they contain.  Losing ourselves in the words on the page, we forget the object that encloses them.  But we use books for a lot of things besides reading.  They serve as badges of allegiance, signifiers of class, focal points for rituals and festivals, tokens shaping interpersonal relationships and more.  This lecture invites us to concentrate on the book as an object among others, and so allows us to examine the ways in which it features in our individual and collective life.

We certainly hope you can join us for this event.

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