Panel: Reading Paratext: the Economies of 19th-Century Play Publishing
Conference: American Society For Theatre Research/Theatre Library Association 2011, Montreal, Quebec Canada
In this alternative-format workshop, participants discuss 4 specimens of play paratext, to explores how such analysis can open new angles on cultural, material, and social contexts, borrowing the model of Gerard Genette. Given the conference theme "Economies of Theatre," the paratext samples will be drawn from the industrializing era of 1850s-1880s English North America, and cover a range of types: title page, catalogue, advertisement, and dramatis personae list. Months before the conference, participants will decide on a set of paratext, examine them, and prepare preliminary remarks to kick off the workshop. The rest of the workshop will be elaborate those comments through conversation, all centered on the common cases. The panel aims at two levels of inquiry: it “reads” paratext to reconstruct historical phenomena about publishing and theatre, and (the meta level) it explores the possibilities and limitations of reading paratext for historical information.
We seek participants who have incorporated paratext in their research, and who are prepared to offer intelligent, inquisitive comments, both prepared and off-the-cuff, about industrial-era intersections of publishing and theatre worlds. Specialization or expertise is not required, though ideally, participants would be familiar to some degree with both subjects—paratext (from print culture, book history, publishing history, or material text angles) and English theatre/performance/media history of the long nineteenth century.
SUMBIT: Please send (1) a c.200-word description of your relevant work—uses of and questions about paratext, expertise/familiarity/interests in nineteenth-century theatre and play publishing; (2) if possible, a file-copy of some paratext used in your research; (3) a brief biography paragraph (affiliation, projects, and publications). Deadline Monday 5/30.
Contact (enquiries welcome): Kate Wilson (PhD Candidate, Theatre, CUNY) Wilson.firstname.lastname@example.org and Mary Isbell (PhD Candidate, English, University of Connecticut) email@example.com
Participants must be members of ASTR (www.astr.org) and register for the conference.
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