Posts Tagged books

The experiment: Engaging undergraduates in advanced university research


It started out as an experiment. We took the brains of a dozen undergraduate students and carefully placed them into the flailing bodies of several research projects; we fired up the electricity (well, actually, set up a webpage) and … the Project Management and Research module was born.

I have become very fond of what we have all created this year. Anthony and I have worked together on projects for over a decade now (hard to believe, I know) and it seemed like a good idea to share some of what we have learned along the way and pass on our genuine enthusiasm for project-based work. In an academic environment that is increasingly stressing employability and the transferability of skills, this module ticks all the boxes. I hope that it has given our first cohort of students a taste of research in an academic context and the opportunity to exploit the talent they have and bring out new talents they never knew they had. Read the rest of this entry »

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Visiting speaker, 18 Mar 2014: Matt Rubery on the early history of audiobooks

Matthew Rubery (Queen Mary, London) will be presenting his paper, ‘How to Read a Talking Book’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 18 March 2014. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48.

2013.06.ruberyThe United States Library of Congress’s Talking Book Service was established in 1934 to provide books for war-blinded soldiers and blind civilians who could not read braille. The first recordings included the Bible, Shakespeare’s plays and best-selling novels. This presentation traces a series of controversies that arose soon afterward among the blind community over the appropriate way to narrate a talking book. Audiences faced a choice between a deliberately understated style that privileged the printed book and a theatrical style that took full advantage of the phonograph’s sound. Such disputes raise fundamental questions about the legitimacy of reading practices among people with visual disabilities and, ultimately, what it means to read a book. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rosie Johns, Publishing in the Modern Era: Interview with John Adler, Part 1

This blog post is the second post of an ongoing series by Rosie Johns, exploring the challenges and opportunities involved in book publishing in the current 21st Century environment. These posts are being written as part of Rosie’s second project on the Project Management and Research undergraduate module at Cardiff University.

Interview with John Adler, Part 1: Background

John Adler, Sole Trader of Herbert Adler Publishing and Pomegranate Books

John Adler, Sole Trader of Herbert Adler Publishing and Pomegranate Books

John Adler founded Pomegranate Books in 1999 and established his subsequent imprint, Herbert Adler Publishing, in 2008. He has over 20 years’ experience in journalism and photography, and his skills and experience enable him to manage most aspects of publishing in-house. During his time at the University of Bristol he combined lecturing with arts administration; he edited New Theatre magazine, as well as writing the 8-volume Responses to Shakespeare. The following are extracts from a transcript of the interview that I conducted with John on 3 February 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rosie Johns, Publishing in the modern era: Introduction

This blog post is the first of a series by Rosie Johns, exploring the challenges and opportunities involved in book publishing in the 21st-century environment.  These posts are being written as part of Rosie’s second project on the Project Management and Research Undergraduate module at Cardiff University.


IMG_92242Reading is a near-essential, and vastly enjoyable, part of our lives.  Humans have been creating written records for thousands of years, from the clay tablets of Mesopotamia (accredited as the earliest form of writing, dating back to 3500 BC) to the hardback and paperback books we are familiar with today.

Since the introduction of the Kindle just over five years ago, eBooks have come to represent a new era in publishing – the digital era.  Books are now able to be published without manual labour, without materials and to a limitless quantity.  Publishing companies have begun, and will continue, to develop vastly different technology to adapt to the new digital demands.

This series of blogs will explore the advantages and limitations of the new digital age of book publishing.  I will provide anecdotal accounts, from a student perspective, of all facets of the publishing industry.  Questionnaires and interviews with professionals from all sectors of the publishing industry will be drawn upon to produce a one-of-a-kind resource, which I hope will be far removed from the detached observations made by other blogs, newspapers and studies.

Publishing is a field greatly affected by digital advancement, and the question of what the future holds for book publishing is one that I am keenly interested in, both on an intellectual and personal level.  This blog series seeks to give a detailed and accurate account into publishing and provide answers to questions of interest, regardless of whether (like me) you aspire to enter the field of publishing, or are simply curious about books and how they are produced.

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Lucy Ellis, The Kindle: My Experience

This blog is the first of a series focused on the Kindle, drawing on the experiences and perspectives of final-year English Literature student, Lucy Ellis. These blog posts are being written as part of Lucy’s first project on the Project Management and Research undergraduate module at Cardiff University.

Part 1

A woman reading Kindle on the Tube.

This academic year, Cardiff University’s English Literature department has piloted a brand new module, in which third year students can contribute to the university’s academic projects and get a first hand taste of how research at Cardiff works. My name is Lucy, and this semester I will be blogging for Cardiff Book History on a subject of my own. Cardiff Book History provides a wide variety of information on speakers, workshops, interviews and general points of interests ranging from native cosmopolitanism to women and gardens in the eighteenth century. However, I wanted to think outside the box.

Being a blog site dedicated to the history of the book, I wished to focus on how books and the methods people use to read have transformed significantly over the last couple of decades – most obviously with the phenomenon of new technology, exemplified by the Amazon Kindle. Through this technological revolution, the popularity of reading has been revitalised; casually reading a Kindle one-handed on a busy London tube is a day to day sight. According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Taking Part 2011/12 Adult and Child Report, around three quarters of the UK population read in their spare time, beating gardening, cinema trips and theatre. It is the ultimate cultural hobby. This is why I’ve decided not to talk about what we read, but the way we read, and there’s no better starting point than to discuss my own personal experience with the Kindle. Read the rest of this entry »

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Adam Thorpe discusses translating Madame Bovary, 7 Feb 2013, Cardiff University

Respected novelist and poet, Adam Thorpe, will give a lecture entitled ‘My Nights with Emma B’ in the Optometry Building, Cardiff University on 7 February 2013 at 7pm.

Adam Thorpe

Adam Thorpe

Adam Thorpe is a celebrated novelist, poet and playwright, who has recently branched out into the world of translation. His writing in various genres has garnered recognition throughout his career. His first collection of poetry, Mornings in the Baltic (1988), was shortlisted that year for the Whitbread Poetry Award. His first novel, Ulverton (1992), an episodic work covering 350 years of English rural history, won great critical acclaim worldwide.

After producing three novels in as many years, Adam Thorpe accepted a Vintage commission to translate Flaubert’s Madame Bovary with the idea that it would be a break from creating. Three exhausting years later, he was prepared to accept that literary translation is one of the hardest – if poorest paid – disciplines of all. Yet its addictive nature led him to accept a further commission to translate Zola’s Thérèse Raquin. Thorpe discusses his experience of the translator’s art and its perils, pains and peculiar satisfactions.

A panel, entitled ‘Why do we need a 20th translation of Madame Bovary?will take place from 3 to 5 pm on 7 February in Room 1.29 of Cardiff University’s Law Building. Panellists include Adam Thorpe, Alexis Nuselovici (Cardiff), Kate Griffiths (Cardiff), Amanda Hopkinson (City), Anthony Mandal (Cardiff) and Bradley Stephens (Bristol).

For further information on how to register for this lecture or this panel, please contact Kate Griffiths:

This lecture is part of Cardiff University’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings eminent and influential guest speakers to the University in order to showcase their work to a wider audience. It is also supported by the School of European Languages, Translation and Politics’ Research Group on Politics of Translating and the Languages, Cultures and Ideologies Research Unit. The lecture is hosted by the University’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and is free and open to all, but booking is essential.

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Jekyll 2.0: Embodying the Gothic Text

At the end of November 2012, I was lucky enough to be part of a team that won a commission through the innovative REACT Books&Print Sandbox call for early 2013. I’ll be working as lead academic partner with Bristol-based creative company, SlingShot, to create a pervasive media experience that draws on the narrative and themes of Stevenson’s gothic masterpiece.

Humanity 2.0 is an understanding of the human condition that no longer takes the ‘normal human body’ as given. On the one hand, we’re learning more about our continuity with the rest of nature—in terms of the ecology, genetic make-up, evolutionary history. On this basis, it’s easy to conclude that being ‘human’ is overrated. But on the other hand, we’re also learning more about how to enhance the capacities that have traditionally marked us off from the rest of nature.
—Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, Warwick.

Double exposure of Richard Mansfield as Jekyll and Hyde (1895).The core of our project draws on the fundamental questions of Jekyll and Hyde: What makes us human? Do our minds control our bodies or are we shaped by our urges, compulsions and appetites? Will technology radically transform us into a new organism, ‘Humanity 2.0’? Such questions are nothing new: during the 19th century, the cultural implications of emerging theories of identity and the dominance of science were explored by numerous works of literature. Drawing on this tradition, our project transforms this reading into play, to create a pervasive gaming experience that links individuals’ bio-data with one such text, Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde (1886), in order to stimulate participants into considering the condition of their own humanity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Visiting speaker, 12 Dec 2012: Rupert Gatti on Open-Access publishing

Rupert Gatti (Cambridge) will be presenting his paper, ‘Open Access Publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences’, at 4pm on Wednesday, 12 December 2012. The talk will take place in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.

Please note: this paper was originally scheduled to run at 2.30pm but is now running at 4pm.

The nature and methods of academic book publishing is transforming radically in the wake of external pressures and the rising costs of scholarly monographs. Open-Access publishing is increasingly being perceived as a solution to the problem facing both institutions, whose library budgets are being cut year-on-year, and scholars, who are attempting to disseminate their work to the widest audience possible. One company that is responding to this situation is Open Book Publishers: an imprint run by academics for academics, which is changing the nature of the traditional academic book. Its books are published in hardback, paperback, PDF and e-book editions, but they also include a free online edition.

We are in the midst of what journalists are calling an ‘academic spring’. Researchers are realising that the high cost of academic books and journals means that only a select readership can access their work. Open Access (that is, making texts free to read online) helps spread educational materials to everyone, globally, not just to those who can afford it. It is increasingly becoming a requirement for publicly funded research to be made available in Open Access format and we are able to achieve this quickly and effectively. Open Book Publishers, a signatory of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, shows that an Open Access model of publishing can be sustainable. In his talk, Rupert Gatti will discuss the transforming landscape of academic publishing and its implications, as well as talking more specifically about Open Book Publishers and its vision.

You can read more of Rupert’s reflections on open-access publishing in his article for the Guardian Online and on the Open Book Publishers YouTube channel.

Read the rest of this entry »

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British Society for Literature and Science Conference 2013: Call for Papers

Hosted by Cardiff University and the University of Glamorgan

The British Society for Literature and Science invites proposals for papers and panels to be delivered at its eighth annual conference to be held in Cardiff, 11–13 April 2013.

The BSLS Conference does not have a theme (as it its usual practice) but especially welcomes proposals on the state of the field of literature and science as well as its relation to other fields. This year we would be particularly interested to receive proposals that reflect upon the interdisciplinary study of literature and science in the context of the present crisis in the humanities. However, the Society remains committed to supporting proposals on all aspects of literature and science across all periods.

Proposals for papers of 15–20 minutes should be sent in the body of the email text (no attachments, please), to with the subject line ‘BSLS 2013 abstract’. Submissions should include the title of the paper, an abstract of no more than 300 words, a maximum of 3 keywords (placed at the end of the abstract), and the name and contact details of the speaker.

Closing date for submissions: 7 December 2012. (Decisions will be made in January 2013)

Contributors interested in organising a panel or other special session, or who have suggestions for alternative forms of conference presentation, are warmly encouraged to contact the conference organisers. The organisers would welcome, for example, workshops on teaching literature and science, or on specific themes in literature and science that cross period boundaries, or on specific published works with considerable influence in the field. Please email the organisers on, using ‘BSLS 2013 Panel’ as the subject line in email correspondence.

Funding: we anticipate that there will be a small bursary awarded to a graduate student on the basis on the paper proposals. The student must be registered for a masters or doctoral degree on 9 January 2013.

Accommodation: please note that those attending will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. As in previous years, we anticipate that the conference will begin at about 1pm on the first day and conclude at about 2pm on the last.

Membership: in order to attend the conference, you must be a paid-up member of the BSLS for 2013. We anticipate that it will be possible to pay the £10 annual membership fee when paying the conference fee online.

Organisers: Professor Keir Waddington (Cardiff) and Dr Martin Willis (Glamorgan).

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Curious Rainbows: the humanities in the digital age

by Michael Goodman

… there can be no divorce between science and technology, on the one hand, and art, on the other, any more than there can be a divorce between art and the forms of social life.
(Susan Sontag, ‘One Culture and the New Sensibility’, 1965)

… too often at the moment we are being hamstrung by a restrictive and unimaginative view of what it is that academic work in the humanities should do. It’s high time we brought to a halt this obsession with utilitarian responses to current challenges and allowed space for the inspiring business of being curious.
(Martin Willis, Times Higher Education, 13 September 2012)

What are the humanities for? This was the implicit question that ran through the inaugural Digital Humanities Congress 2012 in Sheffield and the Forms of Innovation Symposium in Durham like a mischievous, but silent, spectre. And it was in the different ways that the two conferences dealt with this spectre that made them such compelling events. Read the rest of this entry »

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