Grangerized Books

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on May 20, 2010

Extending the Book: The Art of Extra-Illustration
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., 28 January – 25 May 2010

Curated by Erin Blake (Folger Shakespeare Library) and Stuart Sillars (University of Bergen) with LuEllen DeHaven (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Texts are never static objects, but it is rare that readers’ interactions with them are as physically evident as they are in extra-illustrated books. The concept is simple: identify significant people, places, and things in a printed text, collect pictures of them, then insert the pictures as visual annotations to the text. Extra-illustration came to prominence after the 1769 publication of James Granger’s Biographical history of England. Granger’s un-illustrated book combined thumbnail biographies with lists of portraits, and readers began to supplement their copies with actual examples of the portraits. The practice spread to other texts, and the great era of extra-illustration, or “grangerizing,” began. At its most extreme, a single volume could grow to dozens.

Shakespeare proved especially attractive to grangerizers thanks to the variety of editions available and the many portraits of historical figures, fictitious characters, and well-known actors that could be added. Many extra-illustrators went beyond portraiture to include playbills, scenic views, and even entire books; others inserted manuscript letters, original watercolors, and rare engravings, thus preserving a treasure-trove of unique material. Finished volumes range from the skilled work of professional inlayers and binders hired by wealthy collectors to self-made books of inexpensive clippings pasted onto cheap inserts. Any book owner could be an extra-illustrator.

From the beginning, extra-illustrators had to defend their “exquisite handicraft” (in the words of an 1890 proponent) against accusations of “breaking up a good book to illustrate a worse one” (in the words of an 1892 critic). This exhibition examines the art and the practice of extra-illustration, from crudely altered books to beautiful new creations.

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The Folger’s exhibition site includes more information and an intriguing sampling of images»

Call for Papers: Bloodwork

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 20, 2010

Bloodwork: The Politics of the Body 1500-1900
University of Maryland College Park, 6-7 May 2011

Proposals due by 15 October 2010

Conference Organizers: Kimberly Coles, Ralph Bauer, Zita Nunes, Carla L. Peterson

This conference will explore how conceptions of the blood—one of the four bodily fluids known as humors in the early modern period—permeate discourses of human difference from 1500 to 1900. “Bloodwork” begins with the assumption that the concept of “race” is still under construction and that our understanding of the term would profit through an engagement with its long, evolving, history. Specifically, it asks how fluid transactions of the body have been used in different eras and different cultures to justify existing social arrangements.

Recent scholarship has opened up the question of the continuities and discontinuities between early modern and modern rationalizations of human difference. In early modern England, “race” commonly referred to family lineage, or bloodline, and relied upon pervasive notions of what were believed to constitute the properties of blood. The anxieties anatomized in Thomas Elyot’s Boke named the Governour (1537) about the degradation of “race,” or the corruption of noble blood, describe the physical technologies by which virtue—both physical and moral—was thought to be conveyed through bloodlines. Daniel Defoe’s later satire “A True-Born Englishman” (1708) echoes this rationale for difference. The language of his poem not only insinuates the crossover of the term “race” from family lines to national groups, but also supplies evidence that both kinds of racial ideology—whether affirming social hierarchy or national superiority—rest upon the invisible qualities of the blood. In late eighteenth-century Anglo-America, Thomas Jefferson invokes such notions as “White,” “Indian,” and “Negro” blood in order to suggest an essential difference between what he calls “the races,” a difference that he sees as “fixed in nature,” thereby anticipating modern racialism.

A comparative conference such as ours, that is trans-historical and transnational and draws literary critics and historians of cultures on both sides of the Atlantic world, will make a significant contribution to this ongoing debate about the “invention” of race.

Plenary Speakers:

  • Colin Dayan (Department of English, Vanderbilt University)
  • Michael Hanchard (Department of Political Science, Johns Hopkins University)
  • Ruth Hill (Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, The University of Virginia)
  • Mary Floyd-Wilson (Department of English, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


  • How does blood rationalize bodily difference in the period in which you work?
  • How is blood used as a metaphor in your period? How is it contested?
  • How—and why—is the idea of blood transforming? How does it operate in the body?
  • What are the physical technologies of the body and how are these pressed into the service of difference? Conversely, how is the rationalization of bodily difference embedded in “scientific” discourse?
  • Is religious difference figured in cultural or somatic terms?
  • Does the body have a moral constitution?

Please submit abstracts of 500 words for complete panels (abstract plus panel descriptions), incomplete panels, or individuals papers by October 15, 2010 to: bloodwork@umd.edu.

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