H-100. The Eighteenth-Century Book

Mark Dimunation Michael F. Suarez, S.J.

An intensive investigation of the world of print in the eighteenth century, this class will emphasize the material realities of the book in this period as well as consider its role as a major agent of communication. Innovations in printing and illustration will be studied. The rise of scientific and academic publishing, the appearance of the encyclopedia, the immediacy of newspaper and pamphlet publishing, the nature of the book trade, the notion of authorship, the development of copyright protections, and the emergence of modern literary forms will be central to the class investigations. Set amongst significant historical events, from the Enlightenment to the American and French revolutions, the nature and impact of the printed object—from poster and broadside to elaborate plate books—will be discussed.

Using the vast resources of the Library of Congress’ Rare Book and Special Collections Division, students will study hands-on every aspect of the materiality of eighteenth-century books. Students will also be introduced to important reference works and other resources for the study of the period. The class will be run as a seminar, so students will be encouraged to discuss their own interests and research projects with the group as a whole.

This course is aimed at scholars, librarians, collectors, and others who are already familiar with the broad outlines of early modern book history but who wish to focus on what is specific to the eighteenth century. In their personal statement, applicants are requested to summarize briefly their background in the field, current research projects, and topics or issues that they would particularly like the course to address.

Course History

Mark Dimunation & Michael F. Suarez, S.J. co-teach this course.
Mark Dimunation teaches this course for the first time.
This course is not currently being offered. Please do not list on any RBS fellowship or scholarship applications.

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  • Mark Dimunation
  • Michael F. Suarez, S.J.

Mark Dimunation

Mark Dimunation has been Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress since 1998. He is a past chair of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the American College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association.

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Michael F. Suarez, S.J.

Michael F. Suarez, S.J. has served as Director of Rare Book School, Professor of English, University Professor, and Honorary Curator of Special Collections at the University of Virginia since 2009. He formerly held a joint appointment as J. A. Kavanaugh Professor of English at Fordham University and as Fellow and Tutor in English at Campion Hall, Oxford University. He received a D.Phil., M.St., and M.A./B.A. from Oxford University; an M.Th. and M.Div. from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology; and a B.A. from Bucknell University. He has written widely on various aspects of eighteenth-century English literature, bibliography, and book history, and has held research fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. He is a CLIR Distinguished Presidential Fellow, a member of the Advisory Board of the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program, the Council of the Bibliographical Society of America, and the Board of Managers of the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University.

Since 2010, he has served as Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Scholarly Editions Online. His recent books include The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume V, 1695–1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2009), co-edited with Michael Turner, and The Oxford Companion to the Book (Oxford University Press, 2010), a million-word reference work co-edited with H. R. Woudhuysen. The Book: A Global History, also co-edited with H. R. Woudhuysen, first appeared in 2013. In 2014, Oxford University Press published his edition of The Dublin Notebook, co-edited with Lesley Higgins, in the Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins. He delivered the 2015 Lyell Lectures in Bibliography at the University of Oxford.

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