The Center for the Study of Books and Media

Princeton University


Conferences Course Offerings Postdoctoral Fellowship Links to other Web Sites

The primary purpose of this Center, established in Princeton in 2002, is to promote research and teaching in the history of books; but as its name indicates, it will include other media as well.  In fact, book history, as it has now come to be known, involves a great deal more than history and books.  Having developed from the convergence of many disciplines around a common core of problems, it extends to the study of textual transmission in all modes, whether printed or manuscript, visual or oral, in all times and places.  A center cannot attempt to do everything, however.  So the Center in Princeton will concentrate on books in the Western world from the Middle Ages to the modern era.  It will bring together faculty from many departments in order to stimulate research, discuss work in progress, and develop courses at all levels of instruction.  It also will coordinate activities with similar centers both in this region and abroad, and it will work closely with a corresponding group of scholars at Oxford as part of the Oxford-Princeton Partnership.

The Center will organize a series of workshops, colloquia, and special lectures.  Some will be of general interest, aimed at everyone in the university community.  Others will be specialized, involving small groups of scholars and joint research projects within the Oxford-Princeton exchange.  At the undergraduate level, the teaching program will include freshman seminars and more advanced courses for juniors and seniors.  The courses offered to graduate students will include a general seminar on problems and methods in the study of the transmission of texts and seminars on book history in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth century.  Further courses on books in antiquity and on the media of the modern world will be added later, so that students throughout the university will be able to study a wide variety of book history.  In the long run, the book historians of Princeton and Oxford hope to establish a coordinated curriculum that will lead to the creation of a joint, post-graduate degree.

Graduate Student Book History Conference

February 13, 2004


The Popularity of Playbooks in Early Modern England - Alan B. Farmer
Lesbia and Lycidas at Devonshire House: reading and writing in the Sheridan circle, 1770-1795 - Amy R. Haley
A New and More Perfect Edition: Translation, Print, and the Author(iz)ing of Franklin’s Autobiography - Chris Hunter
David, Bathsheba, and the Penitential Psalms - Clare Costley
The 1595 (Geneva) Edition of Montaigne’s Essais - Daisy Aaronian
The Anxieties of Vision In Pauline Hopkin's Of One Blood - Nellickal Jacob
Genre and Reading in Early Modern England - Nicholas Popper
Walter Kaufmann and the Americanization of Nietzsche - Ben Saddoris
The booksellers of 18th-century France - Thierry Rigogne
Hawking Terror: The Discourse of Vengeance in the French Revolutionary Press, 1789-1794 - Valerae Hurley
Bardic Voices, Material Texts: Print Capitalism and the Problem of Authorial Voice in Eighteenth-Century British Poetry - James Mulholland

Oxford-Princeton Partnership Conference: The History of Censorship

September 26-27, 2003
Princeton University

Peter McDonald, St. Hugh's College Oxford, will open the conference on Friday, September 26 with a Faber Lecture on censorship in South Africa. 

Click here for the conference program.

Conference Papers:

For further information, contact Joseph Yeager at .

Print Culture and the Transmission of Learning
A Colloquium Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Books and Media

Princeton University
February 14-15, 2003

Friday, February 14: Keynote lecture

  • Ann Blair, Harvard University

Saturday, February 15: Colloquium

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Upcoming Events

Technologies of Writing

March 28-29, 2003
University of Pennsylvania

Please note the workshop/conference on "Technologies of Writing" at our sister center, the Workshop on the History of Material Texts, at the University of Pennsylvania on March 28-29.  For details, contact Peter Stallybrass: .   The workshop will include papers by two Princeton book historians, Leonard Barkan and Robert Darnton.

The New Digital Monticello: Reinterpreting a Historical Typeface

Matthew Carter
March 31, 2003
Computer Science Building, 35 Olden Street, Room 104, 3:00 p.m.
Princeton University

This lecture, sponsored by the Princeton University Press, the Jefferson Papers, and the Friends of the Princeton University Library, concerns the history of type design in the United States from the early nineteenth century, when Binny & Ronaldson, America's first successful foundry, conquered the domestic market with help from Thomas Jefferson, to the recent design for a digital "Monticello" typeface for use in the Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

Lecture on capitalism and Victorian literature

Lecturer: Jonathan Rose
April 22, 2003
4:30 p.m.
211 Dickinson Hall
Princeton University

Exact time and place to be announced.  For details, contact Sara Brooks:

Cooking the Books in Early Modern France: Publishing, Recipes and Taste

Lecturer: Mary and Philippe Hyman
April 17, 2003
Princeton University

A lecture on the history of cookbooks and eating.  Exact time and place to be announced.  For details, contact Tom Levin:

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Course Offerings

The Center for the Study of Books and Media sponsors three basic graduate courses on the history of books: History 545, "Books, their Makers and their Readers in Early Modern Europe" by Anthony Grafton; "Books in Chains, Bodies in Flames: Literature, Politics and Religion, 1500-1700" by Nigel Smith; and History 550, "The World of Books in 18th Century France and England" by Robert Darnton.  Many other courses, for undergraduates and graduate students, also concern the history of books.  Everyone teaching them is invited to send a syllabus to the Center for the Study of Books and Media < > -- so that we can provide systematic information about course offerings.  The syllabuses of the above three courses can be consulted by clicking their titles given here.

Other Princeton courses:

History 420: The Book: From Gutenberg to the Internet

Links of Interest

Instituit d'histoire du livre at Lyon

Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies

Oxford History of the Book site

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Last updated: 02/17/2004