I am delighted to announce that the delayed appendices to the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe vol. 2 are freely available here.
They include maps, graphs, endless tables, my ‘Designer Notes’ from the FBTEE database, and an essay explaining how I calculated the approximate size of the clandestine sector of the French trade.
Enjoy where possible!
I owe this wonderful slogan to Greg Brown of the Voltaire Foundation, who appended it to an announcement of a new virtual space for discussions arising from the Digitizing Enlightenment initiative, ‘a growing network of scholars using digital tools and methods in the study of the Enlightenment.’ This will form part of the Voltaire Lab!
Great to see how the academic community has taken up this initiative since Glenn Roe and I held the first Digitizing Enlightenment symposium here at Western in 2016.
This important new space is under development at digitizingenlightenment.com
There is also information there about the recent Digitizing Enlightenment 3 meeting in Oxford. Greg has invited participants at that meeting to send summaries of their presentations for blogging, so watch for new announcements.
Today sees the long-awaited publication of the first two volumes arising from the French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project, Mark Curran’s Selling Enlightenment and Simon Burrows, Enlightenment Bestsellers, both published by Bloomsbury. The online appendices to accompany volume two should also appear shortly on the Bloomsbury website here.
These books represent a milestone in the history of the project, but also, we hope, for digital humanities (DH). DH has produced many significant essays, articles, and collaborative collections. But we have so far been light on game-changing , single author single project monographs in the classic humanities mode. A few such volumes might serve as a healthy riposte those who claim DH has not lived up to its transformative promise…
They’re here! The first two volumes dedicated to reporting the results of the FBTEE project are in our hands. They were on display at a pre-publication reception at SHARP2018 here at Western Sydney University last night, at which distinguised book historian and French revolutionary scholar Martyn Lyons introduced both works.
In his conclusion Professor Lyons suggested that ‘you need to read these books if you are interested in French cultural history. You need to read these books if you are interested in book history. You need to read these books if you are interested in the enlightenment. And you need to read these books if you want to know what to do with numbers.’
We hope that these are landmark studies will become classics of their kind, establishing once and for all the power of digital humanities approaches to enrich and significantly revise our understandings of some of the most important historical questions.
The cover blurb praise for both volumes would seem to support this aspiration. Jeremy D. Popkin writes of my volume:
“Using the latest digital-humanities techniques, Simon Burrows’s book gives us new insights into the readers and publishers of the Enlightenment era. His conclusions challenge the popular interpretations of scholars such as Robert Darnton and Jonathan Israel and force us to rethink the notion of “Enlightenment bestsellers”. This is a valuable contribution to book history and the history of the circulation of ideas.”
Comments on Mark Curran’s volume are perhaps even more glowing:
“A striking achievement. Curran’s commendably exhaustive delving into the STN’s superb business archives and his use of digital humanities methodologies to form and to test hypotheses adds a renewed level of relevance to key questions about the European Enlightenment and the role of the STN within it.” – Colin Jones, Professor of History, Queen Mary University of London, UK
“For those with an interest in the history of the 18th-century book trade and the dissemination of knowledge in Enlightenment Europe, this is a work of major importance. Curran knows the rich archives of Neufchatel as well as anyone, and he communicates his important and provocative findings with liveliness and grace.” – Darrin M. McMahon, Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor, Dartmouth College, USA
Happy reading !
We have been advised that the FBTEE database and websites will be migrated between servers next week. As Monday is a public holiday in NSW, that means that they may be down for all or part of the period 12-15 June. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.
We are delighted to announce that the proceedings of the 20th George Rude Seminar, held at Western Sydney University’s Parramatta campus last year, are now available here. Readers of this blog will probably be particularly interested in the latest article on FBTEE ‘Forgotten Bestsellers of Pre-Revolutionary France‘; Alicia Montoya’s piece on our partner project, MEDIATE; and even, perhaps, in reading the latest round in the soap-opera saga of Darnton versus Burrows.
Having just returned from our travels to the 2nd Annual Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium in Nijmegen, Netherlands and SHARP 2017 in Victoria, BC, Canada, we were delighted to find these videos waiting for us.
1st Annual Digitizing Enlightenment Symposium
20th Annual George Rudé Seminar
If you have questions about who appears in the highlights reels, just let us know. Thank you to Addy Fong, WSU, for her time on this project.