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.


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