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Novel Impressions: Literature and the Hand Press in the Eighteenth Century

Image showing typesettingFunded by a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award, Novel Impressions: Literature and the Hand Press in the Eighteenth Century is a research and public engagement network. It facilitates collaboration between early career academics, printers and curators, enabling them to learn from each other whilst also engaging with public audiences through a range of hands-on print workshops for the general public. These workshops, at print museums and printing houses across England, Scotland, and Ireland respond to the histories of eighteenth-century fiction. 

The workshops aim to enable future scholarship on the eighteenth-century book to be better underpinned by knowledge of the printing process and to provide a means by which print museums and small businesses might explore literary history as a hook for engagement events and commercial printing enterprises. Through sharing ideas about the history of the novel and the history of print technology, the network responds to the following range of questions in a practical and engaging manner: What factors shape the graphic design of the novel? What are the technological opportunities and limitations which give it its formal characteristics? Which of these features have we inherited from eighteenth-century hand-press technology? 

The project is led by Dr Helen Williams (Northumbria University), endorsed by British Academy Fellow Prof. Pat Rogers (University of South Florida), and supported by Senior Research Assistant Dr Katie Aske (Northumbria University). For more information about our series of free research-led printing workshops, many of which have been postponed due to the global pandemic, please check the project website.

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