Monday, November 5, 2007


Call for Papers: 'Manuscripts and Miscellaneity, c. 1450-1720'

University of Cambridge, UK, 3-4 July 2008

An international conference organized by Scriptorium: Medieval and
Early Modern Manuscripts Online.

Speakers to include: Barbara Benedict, Julia Boffey, Victoria Burke,
Margaret Connolly, Alexandra Gillespie, Earle Havens, Arthur Marotti,
Steven May, Marcy North, Fred Schurink, John Thompson

Commonplace books, collections, miscellanies; collections of lyric
verse, extracts from authors, sacred and profane, topographical,
heraldic and legal information, estate and household accounts and
recipes. How do we describe or classify manuscripts with such
miscellaneous contents? What importance did such objects, frequently
used for several different purposes over the course of their lives,
have in the manuscript culture of the late medieval and early modern
periods? And in what ways can recent critical interests in the
material history of the book and of the history of reading practices
help us to understand them?

In addressing these questions, this conference will bring together
literary scholars and cultural historians, codicologists and
historians of the book. It will foster discussion of manuscript
miscellanies written or compiled between the mid-fifteenth and
early-eighteenth centuries: their contents, their material forms, how
they were written and read, the ways in which their contents were
arranged and disposed (within single books or across sequences of
books), who owned them and how they used them, and the places that
they might have had in the schoolroom or university, home or library.

It will also question the very concept of miscellaneity, in relation
to other kinds of compilation and collection, and to other methods of
book-classification - is miscellaneity a helpful critical,
methodological or bibliographical term? And how do we view the
miscellany differently in this age of digital facsimiles and

We have limited space for further papers at the conference, and would
like to invite proposals in the following or related areas, though by
no means restricted to them:

•Concepts of miscellaneity (as collection, variety, multiplicity)

•The categorizing / classification of miscellaneous manuscripts (within
libraries or criticism)

•Manuscript and printed miscellanies and their relation

•Commonplace books

•Poetic miscellanies

•Household miscellanies (and the miscellany in the home)

•Religious miscellanies

•The ownership and circulation of miscellanies

•Female writers and miscellanies

•Education (miscellanies in the school, university, educational theory)

•The materiality of the miscellaneous manuscript (layout or arrangement of
books, their material structures and construction)

•Contemporary editing or printing of miscellanies

•The manuscript miscellany in the digital age

Please send proposals, or enquiries, to Dr Christopher Burlinson,
Faculty of English, University of Cambridge ( by 31
January 2008.

We hope to be able to arrange accommodation in Cambridge for our
speakers and attendees, but cannot guarantee the availability of
accommodation to those who register for the conference after 31
January 2008. In order to register for the conference, please contact
Dr Christopher Burlinson ( as soon as possible.

-- Dr Christopher Burlinson
Fellow and Director of Studies for Part II English
Emmanuel College

Senior Research Associate
Scriptorium: Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts Online
Faculty of English
9 West Road

Tel.: 01223 331970 (college) / 767310 (faculty)

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