Voices and Books 1500-1800

Conference: July 16th-18th 2015 at Newcastle University and City Library, Newcastle

Keynote Speakers: Heidi Brayman Hackel (University of California, Riverside); Anne Karpf (London Metropolitan University); Christopher Marsh (Queen’s University, Belfast) with The Carnival Band; Perry Mills, Director of Edward’s Boys (King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon)

Although it is often acknowledged that early modern books were routinely read aloud we know relatively little about this. Oral reading is not embedded as an assumption in existing scholarship. On the contrary, over the last two decades it is the studious and usually silent reader, pen in hand, who has been placed centre stage. This conference aims to: explore the kind of evidence and research methods that might help us to recover this lost history; think about how reading/singing aloud relates to other kinds of orality; recover the civic and/or social life of the performed book in early modern culture; and reflect on how the performance of the scripted word might inform our reading of early modern writing today.

We invite proposals (in English) that address the relationship between orality and literacy in any genre in print or manuscript in any European language. The genres might be literary, religious, musical, medical, scientific, historical or educational. We encourage proposals that recover diverse communities and readers/hearers. We also welcome papers that consider problems of evidence: e.g. manuscript marginalia; print paratexts; visual representations; as well as non-material evidence (voice; gesture), or which explore how ‘voice’ can be central to textual practice. We will be pleased to receive suggestions for presentations that include practical illustrations, performances or demonstrations.

Topics might include, but are not restricted to:

  • The sound of print
  • The physiology of voicing
  • Singing and speaking
  • Rhetoric: voice and gesture
  • Performance and emotions
  • Communities of hearers
  • Acoustic reconstructions
  • Children’s reading / reading to children

200-word abstracts for 20-minute papers from individuals and panels (3 speakers max) to be sent tovoicesandbooks15001800@gmail.com. The DEADLINE is Friday, January 16TH 2015.

There will be a small number of travel bursaries for postgraduate and early career researchers. If you are interested in applying for support please contact Helen.Stark@ncl.ac.uk. The DEADLINE for the bursaries is May 1st 2015.