900 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66045

"How the World Became a Book in Shakespeare's England"

WED, MAR 1, 2023, 7:30 PM
(and live-streamed via Hall Center Crowdcast: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/jonathan-p--lamb-how-the)

Just as the present age has adopted computer language to think about and describe the world (“zoom in on that question;” “I don’t have the bandwidth”), early modern England abounded with a pervasive and deeply influential set of terms based in the world of books: cover, page, headline. Bound, volume, spine. Folio, quarto, octavo. Book of nature, art of printing, taste of a book. Set forth for all to see, read you like a book, turn over a new leaf, printed on my heart.

In this talk, Jonathan P. Lamb will show how bookish words and phrases helped make the world we know by giving readers and writers a way to conceptualize the world around them. Playwrights and poets used the bookish lexicon to make new kinds of art. Pamphleteers weaponized books for political attacks. Preachers formulated theological arguments using book metaphors. Scientists claimed to leaf through the Book of Nature. Bookish words did not merely offer a linguistic tool. They created a fundamental conceptual transformation, the consequences of which remain with us today in ideas such as information, knowledge, media, and race.

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