Writers and their Libraries

Whether an author’s library has been moved to an institutional setting, such as the personal library of Leonard and Virginia Woolf held at the Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections Department at Washington State University Libraries, or left in situ, like Edna St. Vincent Millay’s library at her New York home Steepletop, much can be learned from what and how an author read. A writer’s library can reflect the creative process, intellectual inspirations and circles, as well as profound (and mundane) traces of a life lived.

A conference exploring authors’ libraries will be held at the Institute of English Studies, University of London March 15th-16th, 2013. Paper proposals are due on July 15th, 2012. For a list of suggested topics and themes visit the conference website or the conference blog.

According to the conference website: The aim of the conference is to explore reading habits, note-taking practices, marginalia and other traces of reading experience and book collecting in a comparative context. At the same time, the conference will offer a forum for the discussion of theories and methodologies that underpin this kind of research, as well as the problems and challenges of reclaiming, representing and editing the evidence of reading writers and writing readers from the archive.

Bookplate for American poet H.D.

Bookplate from H.D.’s copy of Euripides’ Hippolyte translated by Théobald Fix (Paris: Hachette, 1912), Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


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