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Bill Sherman, “The Reader’s Eye: Between Annotation and Illustration”

September 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm - 6:00 pm

Bill Sherman (University of York)


“The Reader’s Eye: Between Annotation and Illustration”

Sponsored by the Toronto Centre for the Book, in association with Book and Media Studies, St. Michael’s College, and the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies

The margins of old books are filled not just with words but also with images. Between medieval illumination and modern illustration there are a wide range of traces and practices that we have been slow to see and study, and for which we are poorly served by both methodology and terminology. In the first few centuries of print culture, in particular, active readers drew sketches, diagrams, iconic tags and body parts as well as fully-fledged decorative or illustrative schemes. What function do they serve and for whom? What kinds of text do they appear in and what kinds of content do they mark? What kinds of graphic training, aesthetic tastes and cognitive habits do they reflect? I will survey some rich examples from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries and offer some preliminary thoughts about the visual mode of response in early modern Europe.

Bill Sherman is Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Renaissance & Early Modern Studies at the University of York. He has published widely on the history of books and readers and is best known for his work on marginalia–including John Dee and Used Books. He has also been active as an editor, particularly in the field of Renaissance drama: he is Associate Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly and co-editor (with Peter Hulme) of both the Norton Critical Edition of The Tempest and ‘The Tempest’ and its Travels. He is currently working on an Arden edition of Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, a general book on Renaissance libraries, a collection of essays on Renaissance Collage, and a series of projects that explore the modern legacies of early modern spies and ciphers.


September 23, 2011
4:15 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Father Madden Hall – Carr Hall – 100 St. Joseph Street
100 St. Joseph Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1J4 Canada