Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Marginal Notes: Social Reading and the Literal Margins

The Centre for the Book, Monash University, in collaboration with the Centre for the Book, University of Otago and The State Library of Victoria, are hosting:

Marginal Notes: Social Reading and the Literal Margins. A One-Day Conference and Masterclass.

Conference date: Friday 23 September; from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Venue: State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Seminar Rooms 1 (enter via La Trobe St.).

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof. Pat Buckridge, Griffith University, Queensland, “The Ethics of Annotation: Reading, Studying and Defacing Books in Australia”
  • Prof. Bill Sherman, Director of Research and Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, “Reading as a Visual and Theatrical Mode”

  • This conference will investigate marginalia in texts from the early modern period to the present, with a particular focus on the interpretative challenges posed by marginalia in the literal margin—whether encountered directly, via digital surrogate or in mediated form. Speakers include:
    • Matthew Symonds, University College London, "Archaeologies of Reading: early modern reading strategies and the digital humanities"
    • Steven Olsen-Smith, Boise State University, "'Almost Unknown to the General Reader': Herman Melville’s Recovered Copy of Thomas Warton’s History of English Poetry"
    • Dennis C. Marnon, Houghton Library, Harvard University, "'Oh! Oh! This Is Too Much': An Old Tub-Oarsman Heavily Annotates a Copy of Moby-Dick, Ridiculing the Author’s Whalemanship and Sharing His Own Knowledge of the Sea"
    • Wei Yinzong, University of British Columbia, "Marginalia as a Communication Node: A Case Study"
    • Ruth Knezevich, University of Otago, "Theorizing the Romantic Margin: Byron’s Hyper-Textual Network"
    • Diana Barnes, University of Queensland, "Affecting Social Gloss in late sixteenth century English Print Poetry"
    • James Gourley, Western Sydney University, "Wallace Reading Kafka: Tornadic Bureaucracy in The Pale King"
    • Véronique Duché, University of Melbourne, "Gohory’s Poliphile"
    • Julia Kuehns and Meredith McCullough, University of Melbourne Library, "In his own hand: marginalia and annotations in the Nicholas O’Donnell Collection, Newman College"
    • Merete Colding Smith, University of Melbourne Library, "C’est Mon Livre ce n’est pas le tien mon ami"
    • Brian McMullin, Monash University, "Anonymous vs. Celebrity in Scott’s Antiquary"
    • Wallace Kirsop, Monash University, "An Obsessive Annotator: the Case of Michel Adanson
    • Jocelyn Hargrave, Monash University, "Authorial metalanguage within the margins of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Poems (Ashley MS 408)"
    Participants can register for the conference here. Normal registration: A$110.00; student: A$80.00. The conference is fully-catered (morning and afternoon tea, lunch and all day beverages). The conference dinner (A$65.00) will be at The Moat, Basement, 176 Little Lonsdale Street.

    Prof. Pat Buckridge will be conducting a three-hour masterclass on Monday 26 September (10am-1pm) on “Interpreting marginalia and the history of reading”. (Unfortunately, as a result of last-minute changes, Prof. Bill Sherman’s masterclass has had to be cancelled.)

    A fee of $20.00 applies to the masterclass; which will be held in the Rare books area of the State Library of Victoria (meet in the Swanson St foyer).

    For further information, please contact the conference convenors:
    Dr. Patrick Spedding (
    Dr. Paul Tankard (

    [UPDATE: 2021.03.20: for details of the book, which Paul Tankard, Mia Godwin and I later prepared based largely on papers delivered at this conference, see my My Publications etc.; UPDATE 2021.05.23: for a post on the published book, see here.]

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