The Mirror of Everyday Life: Morris's Book Collecting and the Kelmscott Press
May 2nd, 2pm EST
Members Only Zoom Event

In accordance with his historical, aesthetic and political theories, William Morris’s collection of medieval manuscripts, early printed books and books about medieval art and material culture were meant to be experienced as art-objects, as reading copies and as texts that provided a broad and stimulating picture of the everyday life of the past. In addition to their status as exemplars to support Morris’s historical and social theories, his library of (mostly German, but also French, Dutch and English) incunabula and manuscripts served to influence the design of books at his Kelmscott Press and thus by extension the entire small press movement. This lecture will draw on original research into Morris’s collecting practices to chart the influence of his library on his and his collaborators’ theories in the field of book design and to outline some of the literary and historical principles on which the wide-ranging canon of Kelmscott texts was based.

Dr. Yuri Cowan is Professor in the Department of Language and Literature at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, specializing in book history, nineteenth-century literature, and medievalism. A graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Toronto, Yuri is a former board member of the William Morris Society of Canada. His current book project is entitled William Morris and Medieval Material Culture.


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