Visiting speaker, 1 Nov 2011: Brian Maidment on early 19th-century print culture

Brian Maidment will be presenting his paper, ‘Print Culture in the Marketplace, 1820–1840: The Percy Anecdotes in Context’, at 5.15pm on Tuesday, 1 November 2011. The talk will take place in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.

(Please note the change of title for this talk.)

While this paper takes as its subject an obscure and half-forgotten publication from the early 1820s, the aim is to use The Percy Anecdotes as a way of trying to describe and assess the volatility, experimentation, and entrepreneurial energy that characterised print culture in the Regency and early Victorian period. Central to the development of print culture into a mass circulation medium in this period were changing concepts of information and its social utility. The Percy Anecdotes represents many of these important historical shifts both through its physical presence (a serialised, illustrated compendium of anecdotes organised thematically into forty part issues before republication in volume format) and in its appropriation of the anecdote genre as a significant form of cultural discourse. This paper seeks to examine the intersection in the 1820s between developments in the ways books were being produced and emerging debates about the social consequences of mass circulation educative and ‘informational’ literature. It is built round an illustrated account of the range of informational literature produced as miscellanies in the 1820s. As well as powerpoint images, copies of several of these publications will be available to help with discussion.

About the speaker
Brian Maidment is Research Professor in the History of Print at Salford University. He also holds Visiting Professorships at the University of Ghent and at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, where he has taught a week long graduate seminar on the history of prints since 2002. He has published widely on nineteenth century print culture, especially Ruskin, writing by labouring class writers, early Victorian periodicals, and mass circulation publishing. More recent work has centred on prints and visual culture, especially early nineteenth century caricature and comic illustration. His publications include Reading Popular Prints 1780–1870 (Manchester University Press, 1997) and Dusty Bob—A Cultural History of Dustmen 1790–1870 (Manchester University Press, 2007). A new book, Comedy, Caricature and the Social Order 1820–1850 will be published, again by Manchester University Press, in 2012.

Download a flyer for the talk (PDF).


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