"The Book-Makers - A History of the Book in Eighteen Lives" (6/18 7am Online)


Can a book about book-makers & an online interview interest e-readers? Perhaps. Or not, considering the SfV 1980-90's moniker was Peripheral Valley which ushered out books. 6/18 7am

A celebration of the printed book, told through the lives of 18 people who took it in radical new directions.

This is an extraordinary story of skill, craft, mess, cunning, triumph, improvisation, and error. Of printers and binders, publishers and artists, paper-makers and library founders.

Some we know. We meet jobbing printer (and United States Founding Father) Benjamin Franklin, and watch Thomas Cobden-Sanderson conjure books that flicker between the 20th and 15th centuries. Others we’ve forgotten. We don't recall Sarah Eaves, wife of John Baskerville, and her crucial contribution to the history of type. Nor Charles Edward Mudie, populariser of the circulating library – and the most influential figure in publishing before Jeff Bezos. Nor William Wildgoose, who meticulously bound Shakespeare’s First Folio, then disappeared.

The Book-Makers puts people back into the story of the book. It takes us inside the print-shop as the deadline looms and the adrenaline flows – from the Fleet Street of 1492 to present-day New York. It’s a tale of contingencies and quirks, of successes and failures, of routes forward and paths not taken. This is a history of book-making that leaves ink on your fingers, and shows why the printed book will continue to flourish.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Register here for the Zoom link!  

Adam Smyth is Professor of English Literature and the History of the Book at Balliol College, Oxford University. He works on the connections between literature and material texts, particularly in the 16th and 17th centuries, but also more widely. He is the author of four books (most recently, Material Texts in Early Modern England (2018)), and the editor or co-editor of four collections of essays (including Book Parts, with Dennis Duncan). Adam is a founder member of the 39 Steps Press printing collective, based in a barn in Oxfordshire. He co-hosts the literary podcast and sometime radio show LitBits. He writes regularly for the London Review of Books.

More News from Los Angeles
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified