“Small Presses/Little Magazines of the Mimeograph Revolution: Their Audiences and the Role of Printing Technologies”
Proposed Panel for The Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota
July 11-15, 2007
The readership for twentieth century little magazines and small presses has often been considered a narrow one, with the majority of readers being those interested in experimental or avant-garde literature. The Mimeograph Revolution of the 1960s resulted in an explosion in the number of little magazines and small presses, particularly in the United States, Canada and the UK. While the focus continued to be on “new writing,” the community of publishers and writers of this movement brought a grassroots ethos to literary publishing in opposition to what was perceived to be the domination of academic criticism and the commercialization of mainstream publishing. As Curt Johnson and Diane Kruchkow have stated, the 1960s small press “provided an environment…in which one could discover literature first-hand.”
In recognition of SHARP’s 2007 theme, “Open the Book, Open the Mind,” this panel seeks to explore how this discovery took place for readers of these publications by examining the role of different printing technologies and production methods employed during this “revolution” and how they affected the target audience for these publications. Exactly what were the production methods used under the banner of the Mimeo Revolution and how did they differ from each other and from publications of earlier eras? What, if any, divergences were seen in the traditional audience for literary work produced by little magazines and small presses? How did this grassroots effort differentiate itself from the more conservative academic quarterlies and commercial publishers? The panel encourages papers that take a historical look at literary publishing with a focus on the publication and production of these works, rather than a critique of the work within, or how the styles of writing originating during this time affected the publication of that work. Papers may examine individual presses or magazines or take a wider view of the era.
Send a one page abstract and brief CV by November 20, 2006, to Christopher Harter (email@example.com).
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