Professor Bill Bell, ‘The Mahout on the Elephant: John Murray’s Paratexts’

The second instalment in this term’s series of seminars was given by Dr Bill Bell, Professor of Bibliography at the University of Cardiff and founder of the CHB. His talk centred on the John Murray Archive, which houses a rich repository of materials relating to the celebrated publisher. Founded in 1768, the Murray publishing house was run by seven generations of publishers, all named John Murray, until 2002 when John Murray VII announced a voluntary takeover by Hodder Headline. Professor Bell has a comprehensive study forthcoming on John Murray, Travels into Print: Exploration, Writing, and Publishing with John Murray, 1773-1859; in this seminar, he focused specifically on paratexts in books published under the proprietorship of John Murray I, John Murray II and John Murray III.

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G.P. Johnston Prize in Scottish Book History and Bibliography

The Edinburgh Bibliographical Society has invited submissions for the G.P. Johnston Prize in Scottish Book History and Bibliography.

‘Named after the Edinburgh bookseller and bibliophile George P. Johnston, founder of the EBS and its secretary from 1890-1932, this essay competition is run annually and is open to postgraduate students or scholars who have been awarded a Ph.D. or Masters degree within the three years prior to competition year.

Essays submitted for the annual competition must have a Scottish focus but may cover any period of book history or subject of bibliographic interest.

The winner will receive £200, and submitted essays will be considered for publication in the Journal of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society.

Submissions should not exceed 8,000 words and should not have been published previously. The deadline for submissions is March 31.

See the EBS website for details of how to submit your essay!’

Friday lunchtime seminars at the Centre for the History of the Book

The Centre for the History of the Book hosts a Friday lunchtime seminar every two weeks, at the University of Edinburgh. See this page for a list of seminars and other upcoming events.

Our seminars usually run from 1-2 pm, and take the form of a 45-minute lecture followed by a question-and-answer session.

These events are free, open to all, and there’s no need to book a seat. Just come to 50 George Square and join the audience in the Project Room on the first floor.

You can read reports of past events on this blog.

Please see our website for more information on the CHB and events we’re hosting, or follow us on social media for updates on our events.

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Professor John B. Thompson on the Transformation of Contemporary Trade Publishing

Professor John Thompson is honest about the fact that he is not a historian. Instead, he is a sociologist — he studies “the history of the present, and where we’re going.” His detailed yet succinct lecture, The Transformation of Contemporary Trade Publishing, framed what would perhaps seem like a static historical topic in a way that illuminated the dynamic, social nature of the state of publishing today. Indeed, not only did he shed light on the complex “cave system of the publishing industry,” as Dr Tom Mole mentioned in his introduction, he made compelling arguments about why that cave system is structured the way it is, how parts of it seem to be disintegrating, and why the future of the book is up for grabs.

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