The Past and Future of the Book


On Friday, October 11, Rhodes College hosted a free public symposium on the latest developments in book history as well as innovative digital approaches to interpreting Shakespeare. Facebook event page; Flyer interview; Counterpoint interview; Smart City Memphis ; Intermission Impossible; Commercial Appeal.

9:00 am:
Lukas Erne discussed "Disseminating Printed Shakespeare in Early Modern England.” Dr. Erne is Professor of English at the University of Geneva. He is author of Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist (2003); Shakespeare and the Book Trade (2013); Shakespeare’s Modern Collaborators (2008); and Beyond ‘The Spanish Tragedy’: A Study of the Works of Thomas Kyd (2001). He has won the Hoffman Prize, the Roma Gill Prize, and the Robert Harvey Prize.

10:00 am: Michael Witmore addressed "Writing Literary and Cultural History at the Level of the Sentence.” Dr. Witmore became the Folger Shakespeare Library′s seventh director on July 1, 2011. He is the author of Landscapes of the Passing Strange (2010); Shakespearean Metaphysics (2008); Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance (2007); and Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledges in Early Modern England (2001). He is co-winner of the Perkins Prize.

11:00 am: Robert Darnton responded to these presentations, and engaged in a roundtable discussion with Erne and Witmore. Dr. Darnton is University Professor and Director of the Harvard Library system. Among his honors are a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Humanities Medal. He has written and edited many books, including The Great Cat Massacre (1984, translated into 18 languages) and The Case for Books (2009).

Dr. Darnton also lectured at the University of Memphis on Thursday, October 10 (6:00pm, UC-Theatre): "Digitize and Democratize: Libraries, Books, and the Digital Future". View his lecture online.



At Rhodes College: the Spence L. Wilson Chair in the Humanities; the Pearce Shakespeare Endowment; and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

At the University of Memphis: the Helen Hardin Honors Program; the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; the Department of English; and the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities (MOCH).

For further information, please contact Scott Newstok:

Event Poster (pdf).



Related readings:

Darnton: "The National Digital Public Library is Launched!"; The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future; "What is the History of Books?"

Erne: Shakespeare and the Book Trade; Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist; Shakespeare′s Modern Collaborators

Witmore: Wine Dark Sea; "Bits and the Bard"; "Shakespeare as Killer Software"; "The Data-Mining′s the Thing"; Shakespearean Metaphysics


PHOTO: Donna Ruff, "Es-tu comme moi?" (2008) 

See Also:

Did you know?

A digital facsimile of the 1623 First Folio is available online from Oxford University′s Bodleian Library.

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