Yale Program in the History of the Book

The Yale Program in the History of the Book brings together scholars across disciplines to explore the materiality of the written word over time and across cultures.  A collaboration between Yale’s Department of English and Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Program hosts a series of public lectures throughout the academic year and the annual Harvard-Yale Conference in Book History. We also organize the Book History Seminar Series, a workshop and reading group for Yale graduate students. 

The Program is convened by David Scott Kastan, Chair (George M. Bodman Professor of English Literature, Yale Department of English); Kathryn James (Curator of Early Modern Books and Manuscripts & the Osborn Collection, Beinecke Library); Andrew S. Brown (Ph.D. candidate, Yale Department of English); and Trina Hyun (Ph.D. student, Yale Department of English).

Events are usually located in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.  Lectures take the form of a forty-five minute talk followed by brief Q&A; for our 2017-2018 schedule, please visit our website

Questions?  Please contact Kathryn James. You can also find us on Twitter, where we post updates and sometimes live tweet our events (@yalebookhistory), and you can listen to podcasts of some of our lectures on iTunes and SoundCloud

About the Program

To foster discussion across the many related fields practicing book history, the Yale Program in the History of the Book is organized around two events with each speaker: a public lecture and, on the following day, a seminar discussion centering on our guests’ work in progress. Beginning in the autumn of 2013, we will also host an annual symposium.

Papers are pre-circulated in the week preceding the seminar. To be added to the seminar list, please contact Kathryn James.

Events Schedule


Fall 2016



Inevitabilities of the Book
Friday-Saturday, September 9-10, 2016


Space is limited; please contact Andrew Brown ( to register. A detailed program and room locations will be provided in late August.


Keynote lecture
Inheritance, innovation, or inevitability?
The ancient table of contents at the dawn of print
Joseph Howley, Department of Classics, Columbia University
Friday, September 9, 2016, 5pm
Beinecke Library mezzanine


Symposium Panels
Saturday, September 10, 2016, 9am – 5pm
Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St


Participants include: Rebekah Ahrendt (Department of Music, Yale University), Andrew Brown (Department of English, Yale University), Marijeta Bozovic (Slavic Languages & Literatures,  Yale University), Carol Chiodo (Digital Humanities Lab, Yale University), Gill Partington (Department of English and Humanities, Birbeck, University of London), David Scott Kastan (Department of English, Yale University), Meredith Neuman (Department of English, Clark University), Elika Ortega (Department of Cultures, Societies and Global Studies, Northeastern University), Jessica Brantley (Department of English, Yale University), Jacqueline Wernimont (Department of English, Arizona State University)


Lecture & Seminar Series


Lectures: Wednesdays, 5-6 PM, Beinecke Library mezzanine
Seminars: Thursdays, 4:30 – 5:45 PM, Beinecke Library, room 9 (on lower level)


Margreta de Grazia
Emerita Sheli Z. and Burton X. Rosenberg Professor of the Humanities, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
“Chronological Cruxes in the Shakespearean Canon”
Lecture, October 12, 2016; Seminar, October 13, 2016


Peter Blayney
Adjunct Professor, Department of English, University of Toronto
“Book-Piracy in the Reign of Mary Tudor”
Lecture, November 9, 2016; Seminar, November 10, 2016


Peter Stallybrass
Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and Professor of English, Department of English, University of Pennsylvania
“What Is a Letter?”
Lecture, December 7, 2016; Seminar, December 8, 2016




Time and the Book
A Symposium of the Yale Program in the History of the Book
Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13, 2014

On the nightstand, on its deathbed; in AustenLand and on Notre Dame; serially and on cereal boxes: the book is always situated materially within its and others’ times. This year’s symposium examines the intersections of time and the book, exploring the relationships of time and materiality in the life of books as objects. Some themes include: the co-existence of timeframes and time-scales, within the lives and critical lives of the book as object; the circadian and palimpsestic lives of books; their imagined pasts and futures; the differential ageing of materials and material structures within them, and of social structures without; and the changing identities or values of books, or structures or perceptions of books, over time.
The symposium will begin on Friday at 2:30 with a Biblio-Laboratory, held at the Beinecke Library in rooms 38-39, followed at 4:30 by a keynote lecture and symposium reception on the Beinecke Library mezzanine.
Friday:  All events are free and open to the public.
Saturday: Registration will be required, and will open in mid-August.  If you have questions, please contact Aaron Pratt (



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121 Wall Street | New Haven, CT 06511
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Monday 10 am - 7 pm
Tuesday-Thursday 9 am - 7 pm
Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday (Exhibitions only) 12 pm - 5 pm
Sunday (Exhibitions only) 12 pm - 4 pm

Holiday Schedule and Closed Collections Schedule