I’ve been keeping my eye on this summer’s calendar of events, and it’s looking like St Andrews is the place to be this summer if you are a lover of books or a book historian. There are four huge international conferences coming to St Andrews which are focused on book culture, book production and book reception.
First in the calendar is the Universal Short Title Catalogue’s annual St Andrews Book Conference, entitled ‘International exchange in the European Book World’. This is the fifth conference in this very successful series, this year focusing on the trans-national and international book trade in early modern Europe. Subjects include authors whose books found an international audience, cross-border scholarly collaboration and exchange, books that travelled, the new vogue for multilingual publication and translation, publishers and wholesalers who build their business around international markets. This conference runs from 20-22 June 2013.
A few days later is ‘The Middle Ages in the Modern World’, billed as “a multidisciplinary conference on medievalism in the post-Middle Ages. Keynote speakers include Carolyn Dinshaw (NYU), Seamus Heaney (Nobel Prize-winning poet) and Terry Jones (author and broadcaster) speaking on topics as wide as “The Green Man and the Modern World,” “Translating medieval poetry” and “Columbus, America and the flat earth”. Other papers include topics as far reaching as medievalism in the Game of Thrones series, the medieval commercial revolution in 20th century war and the comic medievalism of the internet meme. This conference is from 25-28 June 2013 and is sponsored by St Andrews Institute of Medieaval Studies, The British Academy, School of English, University of St Andrews, and the School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews.
After a week’s break, the Early Book Society’s bi-annual conference is coming to St Andrews. This conference is from 4-7 July and is entitled ‘Networks of Influence: Readers, Owners, and Makers of MSS and Printed Books, 1350-1550.’ This society meets only once every two years and the demand for presentations is high and members of this society include A.I. Doyle (Durham), Derek Pearsall (York/Harvard), Toshiyuki Takamiya (Keio), Martha Driver (Pace) and Linne Mooney (York). The schedule for this conference is firming up now and will be released shortly and will largely be based in the Arts Building, with exhibitions on display in the King James Library and at the National Library of Scotland.
Finally, overlapping the EBS conference by a day, is the Society of Biblical Literature’s annual International Meeting. This meeting brings together over 800 of the world’s leading scholars in Biblical literature and will see over 200 papers presented during this programme. These papers will be delivered all over St Andrews, in venues including Lower and Upper College Hall, Parliament Hall, St Mary’s College and the Science Campus.
St Andrews is certainly a happening place to be this year, with all these conferences and with the wrapping-up of the 600th anniversary celebrations it’s a good excuse to make a summer trip to north east Fife (not to mention all the beautiful villages to visit, hills to walk and whisky to sample!)!