notes on feminist bibliography

One of my current projects has been thinking about what a feminist practice of bibliography looks like. As I’ve shared before, I struggled when writing my book to figure out how to build a feminist stance when I was focused on machines and processes rather than people. How do we create a feminist printing history when we’re not doing a history of a women printing? Over the past couple of years I’ve given a few lectures and led a few workshops on the topic, and I wanted to collect some of that work in a single place to help others join in this work. In December 2018 I gave the Lieberman Lecture for the American Printing History Association. You can watch “Working toward a Feminist Printing History” on YouTube (with or without captions); there’s also a transcript linked in the video description. I am grateful to Jesse Erickson and the…

weaving a feminist book history

[update 4/16/2020: The project that I describe here has continued to spin out in various directions that I describe in my March 10, 2020 post, “notes on feminist bibliography,” and in a publication for Printing History, “Working Toward a Feminist Printing History,” the preprint of which has been deposited into the Humanities Commons repository.] Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly curious about how we might imagine and create feminist book history. And so I was thrilled when I saw that Valerie Wayne was leading a seminar at this year’s Shakespeare Association of America conference on “Women, Gender, and Book History,” and I’ve been delighted to be part of such a smart and engaging crew of scholars. We’ll be meeting at the tail end of the month and I’m looking forward to our conversation and to feedback on my contribution. But I’m not done with wrestling with this yet,…

Correcting with cancel slips

Thanks to my last post, when Mitch Fraas and I were looking at how different copies of the same book handled having a printer error (Judas instead of Jesus, in that case), I’ve spent the last week with cancel slips on my mind—those pieces of papers that are pasted in to correct printing mistakes. Once you start looking, you can find cancel slips in a huge range of uses and states. (And as long-time readers know, I’m always interested in printer’s mistakes and how they can be corrected.) What do you do if you’ve misprinted one of three propositions central to the 1599 Westminster conference? You print the corrected third proposition and paste it over the error—cheaper than reprinting the whole sheet (the whole book is only two sheets long) and easier than pasting in a canceled leaf. Of course, for shorter errors, printers often included a list of errata—known mistakes…

A practical look at the Practical Science of Printing

In 1723, a Frenchman named Martin-Dominque Fertel published a book on printing, La science pratique de l’imprimerie. It’s good to look at early printing manuals, especially when one is trying to understand how early printing works, so I was delighted to learn that the Folger acquired a copy of the book from the Veatchs in September 2012. When I called the book up from the vaults, I saw that it was housed in a specially-made case: But why was the book in a box? 

It’s the details thnt matter

There were two odd things happening in last week’s crocodile mystery, which featured an opening from the first English edition of Nicolàs Monardes’s Joyfull newes out of the newe founde worlde (STC 18005). The first was the easier to spot, assuming you paid attention to the information at the top of the page that we don’t usually pay attention to. In the headline (that bit of text that runs across the top of a page usually identifying the book or section of the book being read), there was a “thnt” instead of “that” on the left-hand side of the opening. What should the text read? Not “thnt” but “that,” as this correct headline reads: