Script, Type, and Byte – Manuscripts after Gutenberg. Professor Ann Blair at John Rylands Library

“Script, Type, and Byte – Manuscripts after Gutenberg (reflections on technological continuities)”
Professor Ann Blair, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Harvard University

Technological change is often told as a story of supersession, as in Victor Hugo’s famous “ceci tuera cela.” But the rapid development of printing in Europe starting in the mid-15th century hardly ended the production of manuscripts; nor has the rise of digital media.  In this illustrated talk, Prof Blair will focus on the types of manuscripts that survive from the hand-press era. These include commissioned luxury items, manuscripts produced in multiple copies for sale, and those designed for limited circulation or personal use. But often the precise motives, identities, and contexts behind surviving manuscripts are difficult to reconstruct. Drawing on the rich collections of the Rylands Library, she will ponder the reasons why the makers and users of books between c. 1450 and 1800 chose manuscript over print, and draw some parallels with the choices of media we make regularly today.

Monday, 31 March 2014
Reception 5:30pm
Lecture 6:30pm

The John Rylands Library
150 Deansgate
M3 3EH

Registration for the event is now open and available via the link below.

John Rylands Inaugural Public Lecture

Professor Ann Blair (Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, Harvard) will give the inaugural public lecture of the John Rylands Research Institute on Monday 31 March at 5.00 pm on the topic ‘Script, Type, and Byte – Manuscripts after Gutenberg’. To coincide with her visit, Dr Paul White (Research Associate, John Rylands Research Institute) has organised a one-day workshop on Annotations in Early Printed Books for Saturday 29 March. Please see the attached poster for more details –  and note that booking is free but places are limited.


The North West Early Modern Seminar at Lancaster University


Our 5 minute “speed-daters”. From left to right: Naomi Tadmor who chaired the event, Michael Smith (University of Manchester), Sarah Ann Robin (Lancaster University), Naya Tsentourou (Lancaster University), Stephen Pumfrey (Lancaster University) and Helen Davies (Lancaster University).



Jennifer Hyde, (University of Manchester), delivering her paper ‘Kowingness and the Mid-Sixteenth Century English Ballad’.


Liz Oakley-Brown, (Lancaster University), speaking on ‘Thomas Churchyard’s Tudor Sensibilities’.

On November 27th Lancaster University hosted the North West Early Modern Seminar. The event started with our “speed-daters” who provided captivating 5 minute introductions to their research. 

Sarah Ann Robin, (Lancaster University) – Love and the Object in the Seventeenth-Century

Michael Smith, (University of Manchester) – Matthew Henry: Faith, Body and Emotions

Naya Tsentourou, (Lancaster University) – The Groaning Body in Early Modern Texts 

Helen Davies, (Lancaster University) – Materializing Disability in Tudor Literature

Stephen Pumfrey, (Lancaster University) – How Corpus Linguistic Methods can Trump Traditional Scholarship

Following a refreshment break, kindly provided by Lancaster University, we rejoined to hear papers from Liz Oakley-Brown on the narrative persona of Thomas Churchyard and Jennifer Hyde on political flyting in the Mid-Sixteenth Century Ballad. 

Liz Oakley-Brown, (Lancaster University) – Thomas Churchyard’s Tudor Sensibilities

Jennifer Hyde, (University of Manchester) – Knowingness and the Mid-sixteenth Century English Ballad

The event was followed by drinks and fruitful discussions of the papers. 

The next meeting of the North West Early Modern Seminar will be held on the 14th May at Liverpool University. To submit an abstract for a paper please get in touch with the secretary Michael Smith at Remember that you can also follow the NWEMS on Twitter @NWSeminar. 



John Rylands Library Special Collections

The John Rylands Library special collections has announced funding for Visiting Fellowships 2013/2014. The funding is available for post doctoral researchers working in the special collections- an excellent resource right in Manchester! The application deadline is 31 October. For more details visit the webpage for the research institute.

To find out more about events and material at the Special Collections follow the blog for John Rylands Library.

Radical Religion in the trans-Atlantic World, 1500-1800

As part of the ongoing seminar series, Radical Religion in the trans-Atlantic World, 1500-1800, Professor Crawford Gribben from the University of Belfast will be presenting on ‘Bible Reading in Early Modern England’. The video-conferenced seminar will be taking place tomorrow, Tuesday 8th October, in the video conferencing suite in Humanities Bridgford Street, Manchester, from 4-5.