Department of English

University of Toronto

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous Texts: Controversies in Reading, Writing, Editing, and Printing

Event date: Saturday, March 23, 2019, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Location: TBA

Book History and Print Culture presents

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous Texts: Controversies in Reading, Writing, Editing, and Printing

In addition to conveying controversial ideas, books themselves have both committed and inspired mad, bad, and dangerous behaviour. The production and consumption of printed matter can be subversive, destructive, or downright criminal. Studying books as material objects reveals controversies that are fascinating in their own right, regardless of the subject matter between their covers.

The theme of this year’s Book History and Print Culture Graduate Student Colloquium is “Mad, Bad, and Dangerous Texts: Controversies in Reading, Writing, Editing, and Printing.” We invite applications from graduate students, independent scholars, and emerging academics working in any discipline, time period, and geographical region. We hope to explore the ways that print objects have been used to elude and redefine notions of legitimacy. We welcome very broad interpretations of the idea of “danger,” as well as discussions of non-book materials, such as manuscripts, maps, film, or digital documents, that adopt a book history or bibliographic approach.

Possible approaches and topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
? Boundary pushing: dangerous maps, contraband sheet music, unauthorised translations, and indecent illustrations.

? Underground printing and the black market book trade

? Criminals of the book world: thieves, forgers, fences, smugglers, and pirates

? Exploitative, abusive, & fraught relationships between authors, editors, etc.

? Books that are sites for theft, libel, smuggling, and other crimes

? Marginalia, dog earring, and other “crimes” against books

? Toxic, diseased, and destructive books

? “Mad” books: counterintuitive book design

? The material uses of books that inspired criminal acts

? The bodily sacrifices of livestock to produce book materials

? Censorship: persecuted printers, exiled authors, banned books, & outlawed audiences

? Prescriptive definitions of audiences

? Propaganda and the use of print to exert state control

? Distribution, consumption, and collection as means of defiance or protest

? Books as prized, collectible, contested, contraband, or dangerous items

We are delighted to present a keynote presentation by David Fernández (Rare Book Librarian, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library) about depictions of monsters in early modern books.

For further inquiries, please contact the colloquium organizers at:

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