Conversation / “Lives in the Margins,” with Anthony Grafton and William Sherman

Date: Tuesday, 5 November, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary

Listen to an audio recording of this program, or download the file by right-clicking here and selecting "Save link as..."

The study of marginalia once seemed trivial, if not perverse, but it is now playing a central role in the interdisciplinary history of reading. Readers' marks have an uncanny ability to unsettle assumptions, pose questions, and provide new perspectives on the history of people, practices, and technologies. In this illustrated conversation, historian Anthony Grafton and literary scholar William Sherman—who have, together, spent some sixty years looking sideways at old books—will compare notes both on the past lives preserved in the margins and on the place of marginalia in their own work.

A Q&A will follow.

Anthony Grafton is professor of history at Princeton University, where he has been Chair of Humanities and Director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies. His books include Joseph Scaliger, The Footnote, and The Culture of Correction in Renaissance Europe. He is currently working with Joanna Weinberg on a study of a Christian reader of Jewish texts, Johann Buxtorf, and preparing the 2014 Mellon Lectures, provisionally entitled “Past Belief: Renaissance Visions of Early Christianity.”

William Sherman is professor of English at the University of York (UK), where he was founding director of the Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies. He is the author of Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England and is currently working on a study of visual marginalia called The Reader's Eye. His exhibition on the birth of cryptography, “Decoding the Renaissance,” opens at the Folger Shakespeare Library in November 2014.

Beer for this event has been lovingly provided by Brooklyn Brewery.
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