The Rosenbach Lectures are the longest continuing series of bibliographical lectureships in the United States. Rosenbach Fellows typically present three lectures over a period of one-two weeks.
Registration information: all three lectures will be held in person and also streamed virtually, via Zoom webinar. Please register separately for each lecture (see below).
Descriptive bibliography has taught us to mine printed artefacts for evidence of the division of labor. But because making forms only the first stage of the book’s lifecycle, that negotiation prefigures a longer series of unequal collaborations among the different parties involved in its circulation—not just in the bookshop and the library, but also within the middle-class home.
Most Victorians who owned a bookshelf employed a servant. Those dependents came into daily contact with printed matter that they had no right to read or even touch (the subject of Monday’s lecture), while owning and sometimes even reading books gifted by the former (as I’ll discuss on Tuesday). Where middle-class children’s sense of reading as work collided with servants’ understanding of education as the antonym to paid labor (I’ll suggest Thursday), we can trace the origin of conflicts that continue to play out in an ongoing pandemic.
Tuesday, April 11, 5:30pm, Lecture 2: Proxy Print: how tracts made masters
Thursday, April 13, 5:30pm, Lecture 3: Reader ≠ essential worker
Leah Price is Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University and founding director of its Initiative for the Book. Her books include What We Talk About When We Talk About Books (Basic 2019; Christian Gauss Prize); How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain (Princeton 2012; Patten Prize, Channing Prize; and The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel (Cambridge 2000). She has edited Further Reading (with Matthew Rubery, Oxford 2020); Unpacking my Library (Yale 2011); and Literary Secretaries/Secretarial Culture (with Pam Thurschwell, Ashgate 2005). She writes for the New York Times Book Review, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Public Books, and New York Review of Books, and she is a section editor for Public Books.
Featured image: Cover of The "1900" Gravity Washer (Binghampton, NY: "1900" Washer Company, ca. 1910)