All-Negro Comics (1947) is generally regarded as the first comic book produced by and for African Americans. This talk aims to build on a growing scholarly literature around the history of race and comics by looking at the process by which All-Negro Comics might have made its way into the hands of readers.
Founded in 1993 by Professor Peter Stallybrass (English, emeritus) and the Penn Libraries, the Workshop in the History of Material Texts is a weekly seminar, held in the library, that features scholars presenting a wide variety of research in book history, bibliography, manuscript studies, history of reading, publication and printing, and related topics. Subjects range widely in chronology and in geography: from the ancient world to the modern and with a global scope. The usual format of the workshop is a presentation of approximately thirty minutes, followed by discussion. Talks are accompanied by PowerPoint presentations, handouts, or other visual materials. Materials from Penn's special collections are often displayed as part of the workshop.
All are welcome to attend. Participants, including faculty, librarians, graduate and undergraduate students, conservators, booksellers, and others, come from a wide range of disciplines.
Joseph Rezek (Boston University) speaks on the earliest Anglophone literature of colonization (1585-1624) and the relationship between ideologies of human variety and ideologies associated with print authorship.
Ulrich von Bülow (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach) will discuss the papers of W. G. Sebald (1944-2001), preserved at the German Literary Archive in Marbach, Germany, and investigate the manuscripts for Sebald’s last great unfinished and unpublished book project.
Oct. 3: Richard Benson and the End of Printed Pictures
Peter Barberie (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
Oct. 10: Reading Medieval Parchment through an Eighteenth-Century Lens
Alexis Hagadorn (Columbia University Libraries)
Oct. 17: Phillis Wheatley Passes An Evening with Someone Else’s Husband
Tara Bynum (University of Iowa)
Oct. 24: Why Are Clocks?
Elly Truitt (Penn)
Oct. 31: Writing Commentaries on Non-existent Texts: The Mystery of Ismail Ankaravi’s Commentary on the 7th Volume of Rumi’s Masnavi
Jamal Elias (Penn)
Nov. 7: The Ten Commandments and/as Erasable Wax Tablets
Peter Stallybrass (Penn)
Nov. 14: Indigenous Epistemology and Early Modern Science: The Creation of 'De historia animalium Novae Hispaniae' (1571–1577) [Co-sponsored by the Penn Department of History]
Marcy Norton (Penn)
Nov. 21: Paper + Digital: No Longer Format Agnostic
Margaret McAleer (Library of Congress)
Nov. 28: Learning with the Tress Collection
Julie Davis (Penn)
Dec. 5: Finding Octavia E. Butler in the Archives and around Black Pasadena
Chi-ming Yang (Penn)
An intriguing late sixteenth-century anonymous manuscript, Ms. Fr. 640, contains over 900 "recipes" for objects of art and of everyday use. This lecture will explore the meanings and conceptualization of making and materials in early modern how-to texts, and also introduce the digital edition of Ms. Fr. 640.
Jan. 31: Failed Formats: Goethe’s Literary Anthology for the German People
Carlos Spoerhase (Bielefeld)
Dahye Kim (Northwestern University): "The Hangul Machines and the Curious Disappearance of Chinese Characters"
Drawing upon my book project that focuses on the mechanization and digitization of the modern Korean writing system, this talk focuses on the Cold War history of the hangul typewriter and keyboard.
Aylin Malcolm (University of Pennsylvania): "Revolutionary Science: Movable Books and the Medieval Universe"
In this talk, I review a range of movable devices from the later Middle Ages, including their applications in cosmography, medicine, and the computation of the date of Easter.
Meg Leja (Binghamton University): "Mending Bodies by (A)mending Texts: Medical Manuscripts from the Early Middle Ages"
This talk introduces the corpus of Latin medical writings extant in manuscripts from the late eighth century onward—a corpus that is far larger and more diverse than has previously been recognized.
This talk will be centered on Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, the radical political pamphlet published by activist David Walker in three editions in Boston between 1829 and 1830.
In this three-part series, Peter D. McDonald addresses the challenge of uncovering, and then relating, the fugitive history of reading’s inwardness.
How can we combine feminist theory and praxis with the study of material texts? Come to this workshop for a chance to push at our boundaries, real and imaginary, and to explore together what feminist bibliography might be.
In my presentation, I will be looking at a large group of bilingual medieval charters, texts composed in both Latin (or other European languages) and Hebrew (or other Jewish languages).
This lecture seeks to examine lines of dialogue by Jack Cade in the Second Part of Henry the Sixth (quoted from Shakespeare’s 1623 First Folio) and how they relate to popular medieval perception, rebellion, and political attitudes towards books and manuscripts.
A virtual roundtable featuring Lisa Baskin, Emiko Hastings, and Sarah Lindenbaum.
Andrew Stauffer (University of Virginia) and Amanda Licastro (Penn Libraries): "Book Traces: Library History and the Marks of Collaborative Reading"
This lecture introduces the Book Traces project, which supports the discovery, cataloguing, and preservation of pre-1923 library books that bear traces of the past: inscriptions, annotations, insertions, and other modifications made by historical readers.
Apr. 25: Honoring Jerry Singerman: A Celebration of His Work as Humanities Editor at the University of Pennsylvania Press
The Workshop in the History of Material Texts is supported by the School of Arts and Sciences through the Department of English and hosted by the Penn Libraries. The co-directors of the seminar are Professor Zachary Lesser (English), Jerry Singerman (Penn Press, emeritus), and John Pollack (Kislak Center, Penn Libraries).
Associated with the workshop is the book series in Material Texts published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, which includes many monographs that have emerged from presentations given at the workshop over the years.