"Technologies of Writing in the Age of Print" explores innovations and transformations in writing after the invention of the printing press. While beautifully-decorated manuscripts continued to be produced and treasured by their creators, new implements, scripts, surfaces, and techniques forever changed the textual landscape of early modern England. Developments included graphite pencils, the earliest fountain pens, shorthand, the precursors of modern cursive handwriting, portable and erasable writing tables that could be used with a metal stylus when pen and ink were impractical, and improved methods for note-taking and accounting. Invisible ink, ciphers, and other forms of secret writing grew in popularity, and the invention of an instrument that could make two copies of a manuscripts at the same time received considerable attention. Through the proliferation of almanacs interleaved with blank paper, printed forms that needed to by completed by hand, and ornately engraved writing manuals, printing was a radical incitement to write, rather than a signal of the demise of handwritten texts.
Peter Stallybrass, Michael Mendle, and Heather Wolfe
Dates & Times:
September 28, 2006 - February 17, 2007
Monday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm
Folger Great Hall