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'Books on Screen' Symposium

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An exploration of the ways in which books are and have been represented on the screen. Zoom link to be shared with registered participants.

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The codex has long asserted itself as an indication of its owner's sophistication and status. Codex display under pandemic conditions has highlighted the complexities of presenting books on screen; we have become increasingly aware of the importance of book materiality through online discussions centred on #BookshelfCredibility and #PandemicBookshelves, which draw attention to the shelves lurking in our Zoom backgrounds. Such backdrops, like bookish tableaus on BookTube, Bookstagram, and other social media spaces, have invited scholarly examination of curated book displays. But this study of books on social media – books as a component of self-presentation – can be complemented by a broader study of books on screen: representations of the book in films, television, photography, game and other screen worlds. Indeed, books have long been featured on screen: the comic book in a-ha's iconic 'Take On Me' music video (1985) blends into reality; the magical tome in Myst (1993) transports gamers to a mysterious island; rare books are the stars of the recent film American Animals (2018). No matter the electronic medium, the physical form of the codex continues to assert itself as prop, metaphor, and plot device.

This free virtual symposium (via Zoom), hosted by the University of Leeds and Anglia Ruskin University, will explore the ways in which books are and have been represented on the screen. Presentations will take the form of 15-minute papers, allocated to relevant panels. Both 'book' and 'screen' are defined loosely, and presentations may focus on broad concepts of bookishness or particular examples of books on screen.

This symposium has the support of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (https://sharpweb.org).

Tentative Schedule (All Times GMT)

Gather.Town Room Informal Meetup (Unmoderated): 09:00 – 09:25

Official Welcome: 09:25 – 09:30

Emerging Platforms and Multimodality: 09:30 – 10:30

Ellen Addis: The tethered object: The book at the digital literary festival

Kenna MacTavish: ‘she’s fake as fuck the book is not that big’: Social Media as a Cultural Space for the Reimagining of Bookish Screen Moments, an autoethnographic study

Tonguc Sezen: Books leaking out of the screen: Engaging with books on screen through replicas

Television: 10:45 – 11:45

Chandni Ananth and Corinna Norrick-Rühl: Streaming Scholastic’s ‘Great Idea’: The Global Reach of the Baby-Sitters Club

Laura Ntoumanis: Bulletproof Books: The Impact of the Book as Object in David Simon’s The Wire

Alison Ray: Evoking the past: Portrayals of book production, libraries, and provenance research in A Discovery of Witches

Keynote Conversation: 12:00 - 12:50

An informal chat with Matthew Kirschenbaum and Simone Murray

Publishing on Screen: 14:00 – 15:00

Amy Blair: 'This is The Book’: The Fashion Magazine Mock-up in The Devil Wears Prada and Funny Face

Maria Juko: Books, Authorship, and Agency in Greta Gerwig’s 2019 Little Women

Ellen Forget: The Book as a Bridge: Examining Gender Roles in Book Publishing in Genius

Games: 15:15 – 16:45

Allie Alvis: Shuffle Your Library: The Book History of Magic: The Gathering

Jason Boyd: Tantalizingly Unreadable: Books in Gone Home, Tacoma, and Firewatch

Kate Maxwell: The semiotics of the music book in Skyrim: Medievalism, fandom, and colonialisation

Christopher Webb: Virtual Literary Economies in Role-Playing Games

Archives and Special Collections: 17:15 – 18:15

Jessica Bigelow: The Steward of Book History in the Digital Age: The Struggles and Rewards of Collecting eBooks and eReaders for Special Collections Institutions

Amanda Boczar, Emma Frank, and Sydney Jordan: Material Books in a Digital World: Teaching Rare Book Materiality on Screen

Kevin Wisniewski: Making Connections with the Collections: Presenting Print Media in Academic and Public History Programs

Film: 18:30 – 19:30

Dot Porter and Brandon Hawk: Aionomica, Rammahgon, and De sphaera mundi: Bibliographic Medievalism in Star Wars

Margaret Stetz: Screening Victorian Books

Holly Willis: Figure and Frame, Letter and Line: William Kentridge

Event image from https://www.pexels.com/photo/snow-vacation-people-water-6596188.

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