IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 514: Reading for Pleasure?: Paratext and Literacy in Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

Tuesday 2 July 2013, 09.00-10.30

Sponsor:Department of English Language, University of Glasgow / Glasgow Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, University of Glasgow
Organiser:Johanna Green, School of Critical Studies (English Language), University of Glasgow
Moderator/Chair:Jennifer Key, School of English, University of St Andrews
Paper 514-aParatext and Old English Poetry: Examining Reading Practices in the Exeter Book
(Language: English)
Johanna Green, School of Critical Studies (English Language), University of Glasgow
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Literacy and Orality, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Printing History
Paper 514-bPolitical Paratext: The Impact of Robert Crowley's Edition of Piers Plowman
(Language: English)
Diane G. Scott, School of Critical Studies (English Language), University of Glasgow
Index terms: Language and Literature - Other, Literacy and Orality, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Printing History
Paper 514-cAlways a Pleasure?: The Development of Reading Practices as Displayed through the Re-Formation of Medieval Texts
(Language: English)
Francesca Mackay, School of Critical Studies (English Language), University of Glasgow
Index terms: Language and Literature - Other, Literacy and Orality, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Printing History
Abstract

Paratext has been termed by Genette (1991: 261) as being ‘the fringe which constitutes, between the text and what lies outside it, a zone not just of transition, but transaction’. This session seeks to examine this ‘zone’ by considering the significance of paratext in uncovering evidence of literacy in manuscripts and early printed books. In particular, the session focuses on the transaction between individual texts and their manuscript layout, punctuation, textual division, and compilation, using examples from the Anglo-Saxon to Early Modern periods. It argues that rather than being simply for decorative pleasure, paratextual information can provide evidence of how texts were intended to be read and were subsequently reinterpreted for later audiences.