CFP: After Print: Manuscripts in the Eighteenth Century

After Print: Manuscripts in the Eighteenth Century
UC Santa Barbara
April 24, 2015
Co-sponsored by the Mellon Fellowship in Critical Bibliography at Rare
Book School and the UCSB Early Modern Center

This one-day conference at UCSB will bring together junior and senior
scholars to explore the continued vitality of manuscript publication
and circulation in the eighteenth century. Scholars now often take for
granted that the eighteenth century constituted an established ?print
culture,? whether that culture was inherent in the technology or
forged by its users. By the age of Addison and Pope, this narrative
contends, the spread of print and lapse of licensing had rendered
superfluous a manuscript world of scurrilous libels, courtly poetry,
and weekly newsletters. But a growing body of research is arguing for
the ongoing importance of manuscript production and publication into
the Romantic period, and for a critical stance that questions the
solidity of the print-manuscript binary. In texts from diaries and
journals to notes, letters, sheet music, scientific observations, and
hybrid multimedia documents, scholars are turning their attention to
the manuscript traditions and innovations that were also central to
eighteenth-century literature. And they are drawing connections to our
own moment of protracted media shift, focusing on aggregative,
iterative steps rather than a single “revolution.”

“After Print” will join this exciting subfield by exploring a range of
manuscript practices in the long eighteenth century. Margaret Ezell,
distinguished professor of English and Sara and John Lindsay Chair of
Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, whose works Social Authorship andĀ 
the Advent of Print (1999) and The Patriarch’s Wife: Literary EvidenceĀ 
and the History of the Family (1987) have been foundational to the
field will deliver the keynote lecture on Friday evening. Proposals
are solicited for papers on any aspect of eighteenth-century studies
related to the theme; in particular, proposals are welcomed from
junior scholars (graduate students, postdocs, and untenured faculty)
for a special panel on new methods. Limited travel support for junior
scholars may be available.

Please send paper proposals by Dec. 15 to Rachael Scarborough King
(Asst. Prof. of English, UCSB),

In the News: Dr. Livingstone’s 1871 Field Diary In Living Color

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Screenshot of a page of Dr. Livingston’s diary, via the UCLA Multispectral Critical Edition

Yes, that Dr. Livingston.

The David Livingston Spectral Imaging Project at UCLA has succeeded in rendering Livingston’s fragile and mostly illegible diary available for modern readers. Livingstone wrote his diary on newspaper print with ink he made from berries. The Spectral Imaging Project not only makes the text legible, it has transcribed and digitized the entire document, and made it accessible on the web for free. The project is an impressive realization of the promise of digital humanities.

Read an account of this project at the Smithsonian Associates.

UCLA’s David Livingston Spectral Imaging Project

In the News: Confederate Diary De-Coded

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Via Huffington Post: A British Cryptographer has decoded a US Confederate soldier’s diary to discover that the code was intended to hide the soldier’s gossipy speculation about his superiors.

The complete diary of Lt. James M. Malbone is viewable here, thanks to the New York State Military Museum.

Kent D. Boklan’s account of his decoding process is available here, via Taylor & Francis (limited access).

What’s the difference between a diary and a journal?

A diary is a journal but a journal is not a diary.

The dictionary yields this curious logic. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a diary is “a daily record of events or transactions; a journal,” a meaning it tracks back to 1581. But, the OED entry on the word “journal” does not employ the term “diary” except in a sub-entry and as a negative example: The journal is a “a record of events or matters of personal interest kept by any one for his own use” — which sounds an awful lot like a diary, were it not followed by this disclaimer: “Now usually implying something more elaborate than a diary.” Instead of using “diary” to define “journal,” the OED provides a host of other comparative terms including: day-book, record, service-book, itinerary, account book, logbook, daily newspaper, etc.

The journal, it seems, is many things, while a diary is only one thing, though that thing is very like a journal. Which is many things.

“Journal” has a number of other rich, sometimes obsolete associations: religious, nautical, financial, legal, mechanical, related to mining, related to travel. My favorite is the use of “journal” (from the French) to refer to the amount of land that can be plowed in one day. What a wonderful metaphor for the work of keeping a daily diary: how much land did you plow today?

The Google Ngram Viewer yields the following results:

The usage of the word “diary” in print over time:

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The usage of the word “journal” in print over time:

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Insofar as this is reliable data (and I am not sure whether it is*), it would appear that “journal” has had a wider and more consistent usage for a longer period of time, whereas “diary” had followed a track upwards from relatively little appearance in print in 1800 to frequent appearance today. Of course the host of meanings attached to the word “journal” also explains its frequency.

In my own experience, “diary” is a word I long associated with antiquity — something kept with a quill pen — and with girlhood — the pink book with its little key. Neither was an image I could relate to. It was in the 1980s that I started hearing the word “journal” and particularly in the verb form, “to journal” — terms I found engaging. I thought of myself as journaling — I addressed my journal as a journal. It is only recently as I’ve started to study historic diaries that the term “diary” has become a more relevant one. I noticed a shift in my own writing, which is that I now write about my diary as a diary (though not with the “Dear Diary” address). Thinking of myself as participating in a literary tradition with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women who kept diaries has given me a very different perspective on the diary as a form. But such is the mutability of language that I might again someday think of what I do as “journaling.”

* The Google Ngram Viewer is a great tool for “armchair historians” (as Ben Zimmer writes), but I hesitate to place faith in the Google digital book corpus. Among other things, the privileging of print matter in determining word history is problematic — all the more so if what you are interested in is unpublished or manuscript materials. Does the print history of the word “diary” actually tell us more than the use of the word “diary” in actual — and generally un-digitized — diaries?