Printing

Introductory lectures

I give two lectures on printing and literary theory. Both are designed for first year students, and are very introductory. The first is called The Indeterminacy of the Literary Text. This is a double lecture, in fact; the first part is about the theoretical problems both for textual and for literary criticism caused by the fact that in many cases it is just not possible to know what the author of a literary text actually wrote; the second part deals with an example of the bibliographical method in action. This is from my forensic work: this is mostly in the study and detection of forged handwriting, but in the late eighties I was also involved in the analysis of a number of confessions to major crimes which were the subject of appeals against sentence. Some of the appeals were successful, on the basis of my evidence. The evidence is bibliographical in nature, and... well, read the lecture.

I have dealt with the matters in these lectures in more detail elsewhere. For textual criticism and author's intention, for see my papers The Monsters and the Textual Critics and The Epic of Bibliography; for the analysis of alleged confessions, see my paper on the same subject.

The second lecture is called 'The Electric Message'. This deals with the advent of the Internet and its implication for literary theory. Warning: it is a lecture designed for people who know nothing about computers...

The theory part of this lecture has been dealt with in more detail in my article The Epic of Bibliography.