The death of the book has been long-heralded yet the book survives, a privileged cultural object in both the scholarly community and wider society. These Sadler Seminars, organized by the Centre for the Comparative History of Print (Centre CHoP), ask: Why Books? What do we mean by the word book and why do we remain so invested in it?
Starting off with the White Rose's 'Debating the Book'programme, 'Cultures of the Book' is a year-long series of events that explore different dimensions of book culture. Our interest is both in the book as idea as well as object. In other words, we want to know why the book continues to have such a hold upon us while, at the same time, think about what it means to hold a book. 'Cultures of the Book' investigates the lives or both books and their readers. Centered around the print room in the School of English, the project is deeply interested in the printed codex - the processes of its manufacture and the meanings of its material culture - but also recognizes that the history of the book goes much further than this, encompassing the different ways books function in society. It explores the way that the form of the book has shaped the way we understand the world and considers how this might change as the book takes on new, digital form today. If books are the principal means through which we have come to learn about our past, then the forms of the book will also shape our future.
Read the project's final report here.