3 Dec 2014 12:15pm - 2:00pm Room SG1, Alison Richard Building


Dr Adam Smyth (English, Oxford)
Doing things with errors

Nicholas Smith and Colin Clarkson (University Library, Cambridge)  
Practical printnig 



Doing things with errors
‘God helpe the man so wrapt in Errours endlesse traine,’ laments Edmund Spenser’s Una in he Faerie Queene. But what can we, as readers and critics, do with errors in printed books? This paper suggests that the history of the Renaissance book is also a history of error, and proposes that we need to learn how to treat typographical slips seriously, or, at least, that we need to think more about their hermeneutical potential. The paper suggests two ways of proceeding: first, to treat errors as moments when, in breaking down, the book briefly but often vividly reveals the processes of its production; and second, to read errors and errata as literary forms that shaped the literary imagination of authors such as Spenser and Milton.

Practical printnig
This paper describes the practical difficulties and potential pitfalls associated with the stages in the production of a printed work in the hand press period: composition, imposition and presswork. The speakers will bring along some type, composing sticks and other exhibits to illustrate this process, and will also demonstrate on a tabletop printer, which, while rather different from those used for book work, will give some idea of what is involved. They will show a short film made to accompany the “Private lives of print” currently being exhibited at the University Library.



Open to all.  No registration required
Part of Things that Matter, 1400-1900 Research Group seminar series

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