In the period between 1740 to 1850, the systematization of the entire process of making and selling books through a network of printers, publishers, booksellers, writers, readers, and critics led to the evolution of the book trade into a profit-making machine. The resulting professionalization and commodification of literature created not only professional authors and critics, making authorship itself undergo significant change, but set up an entirely new way of conceiving of reading, writing, and selling literary materials. The changing nature of books, media, information and communication defined the literary culture of the period and was central to the establishment of national identity.
Today, the late twentieth-century emergence of digital media has led to a massive-scale migration of our paper-based inheritance to digital forms, forcing a return to textual scholarship and its various problematics, as well as placing literature within a complex interactive matrix of multiple collaborating agents, individual as well as institutional. Though digitization was not a concern in the nineteenth century, the drastically changing relationship of literature to its socio-historical milieu invites parallels with today’s re-inventing of the writing and dissemination of literature and of the digital transformation in the humanities. The debate becomes even more urgent as more and more eighteenth and nineteenth-century print literary materials are being modeled in digital environments. What does digital technology has to offer literary and cultural history? What are the stakes involved in the translation of print materials into digital forms?
For the 2013 volume of Gramma on the history and future of the book with a focus on British and American 19th-century literary materials, papers are invited on the following or related areas:
- book production and publishing history
- gender, class, and audiences as mediated by print/digital text
- authorship and its redefinition
- periodicals; serial publication; copyright and pirated editions
- editing 19th-century British writers
- interfaces, platforms, and technologies of 19th-century books
- archiving, preserving, and collecting material and digital records
- the impact of digitization on teaching and scholarship in 19th-century studies
- bibliography, textual criticism, and digital technologies
- the public domain and the creative commons for the 19th and 21st centuries
Deadline for submissions: 31 December 2012